HomeBuild on the ban, strengthen the ActHow should Hunting Act be amended?Videos of illegal huntingPost-ban prosecutions of organised huntersHunting News 2019-20Hunting News 2018-19Hunting News 2017-18Hunting News 2016-172015-16 Season2014-15 Season2013-14 Season2012-13 Season2011-12 Season2010-11 Season2009-10 Season2008-9 Season2007-8 Season2006-7 Season2005-6 Season

 For purpose of this record - and to include whole year - 'Hunting Season' runs from start July-end June

N.B.   Entries are in REVERSE chronological order. Stories are below each month's headlines 

WARNING   Likely to contain images you may find distressing


This site  The Web 

JUNE 2013
..... 28th June - Three Cattistock FH followers fined for threats to monitors, one for assault
..... 28th June - Middleton FH members to face Hunting and Animal Welfare Act charges
..... 28th June - Cheshire Forest FH whip trial for sex offences and beating women set for October
..... 28th June - Ashford Valley FH terrierman charged with badger sett interference
.... 26th June - CPS drops illegal hunting charges against JM of the Quantock Staghounds
..... 19th June - Largest gathering yet of anti-hunt Conservative MPs for Commons briefing
..... 14th June - Cheshire FH rider cautioned for attack on female OAP; League monitor
..... 14th June - Hunt sabs ready to put themselves in firing line to protect badgers from cull
..... 13th June - 'Bonkers Boris' calls for fox hunting on the streets of London
.....  7th June - Heythrop FH trial judge rapped by authorities for criticising RSPCA prosecution

Yorkshire hunt members to face Hunting and Animal Welfare Act charges

28-6-13   LACS Press Release     Four members of the Middleton hunt are to face prosecution for Hunting Act and animal cruelty offences based on evidence supplied by the League     Four member of the Middleton Hunt, including the Huntsman and the Whipper-in, have been summonsed to appear at Court on 15 July 2013 for offences underMiddletonFHB.Daymeet2009.jpg the Hunting Act 2004 and the Animal Welfare Act 2006.  A report was made to Humberside Police by The League following an incident on land near to Full Sutton in East Yorkshire in December 2012 following investigations conducted by the League.  The four men have been charged with two offences under the Hunting Act and one further offence under the Animal Welfare Act following an incidence of alleged illegal fox hunting in December 2012.  The Animal Welfare Act is most commonly used for cases where unnecessary suffering has been caused to a domesticated animal such as a dog or cat. However, wild animals such as the fox can be given protection under the Act in certain circumstances such as when caught in a trap or prevented from having their natural freedom.
Rachel Newman, Director of Operations at League said:  "We believe this is a clear case of illegal hunting and animal cruelty. We are very hopeful that this case will lead to prosecutions".  A Humberside Police spokesperson stated "Our role in this case is to uphold the law and bring to court those who choose to break the law by continuing as they did prior to changes in the legislation."
The League is involved in a number of cases resulting from the 2012 - 2013 hunting season. The case against the Middleton Hunt is one of two live cases at present, with further cases in the pipeline. 

Cheshire Forest FH whip in court charged with sex offences and beating women

AndrewCallwoodWhipofCheshireForestFH.jpg28-6-13   Knutsford Guardian   Ollerton man pleads not guilty to seven charges     AN Ollerton man has pleaded not guilty to sex offences against two women.  Andrew James Callwood [left], of Manor Farm, Seven Sisters Lane, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Monday, June 24 for a plea and case management hearing.  The 49-year-old pleaded not guilty to seven charges, five of beating and two of sexually assaulting women, who cannot be named for legal reasons.  Callwood will appear at Chester Crown Court again on September 27 for a pre-trial hearing. His trial will begin at the same court on October 28.

Ashford Valley FH terrierman charged with badger sett interference

28-6-13   LACS Press Release    Man accused of badger sett interference following investigations by the League    William Staines has been summonsed to appear before Canterbury & St. Augustine Magistrates' Court on Friday 28th June 2013, charged with an offence of Interfering with a badger sett.  The case is based upon surveillance evidence provided by League investigators in respect of an incident which is alleged to have occurred on 5th January 2013, when the Ashford Valley Hunt met near Ashford, Kent.  The case was then picked up by Kent Police.
Rachel Newman, Director of Operations at League said: "We are very pleased that the police are to prosecute as persecution of badgers is a wildlife crime that needs to be taken very seriously. "Thankfully, our Investigations Team are out in the field, and tasked with finding incidences of animal cruelty just like this one. We hope the case is successful, and that it deters others from breaking laws designed to protect animals."


CPS drops illegal hunting charges against JM of the Quantock Staghounds

26-6-13   Western Morning News     Charge dropped against Staghounds joint-master Charges of unlawfulBrianPalmerQuantockSHJM.jpg hunting against a Somerset hunt master have been dropped, the Countryside Alliance has revealed.  The joint-master of the Quantock Staghounds, Brian Palmer [right] was told yesterday that charges had been dropped due to a lack of evidence, the campaign group claimed.  The case against Mr Palmer had been based on surveillance of the hunt by protest group the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS).
Tim Bonner, South West spokesman of the Countryside Alliance said he had always been "confident" Mr Palmer would be acquitted.  "We are delighted that Avon and Somerset Crown Prosecution Service has taken this sensible decision rather than wasting court time and public ,"  Mr Bonner added.  "However of great concern to us is the continued unauthorised covert surveillance of private individuals, such as Mr Palmer, when they are on private land and undertaking totally lawful activities."   The LACS did not respond to a request for comment.

Largest gathering of anti-hunt Conservative MPs for briefing at Commons

19-6-13   Blue Foxes website     Conservatives Against Fox Hunting hosted a highlyBlueFoxesCommonsBriefing218-6-13.jpg successful parliamentary table discussion to provide a briefing for anti hunting Conservative MPs.  The event, on 18th June 2013, was kindly hosted by Caroline Dinenage MP.  Ten anti hunting Conservative MPs attended the seated afternoon tea briefing in the House Of Commons and heard talks from key Speakers including John Cooper QC, Joe Duckworth, the CEO of the League Against Cruel Sports, Robbie Marsland, the UK Director of IFAW, Dr Richard Ryder, the former Chairman and now Trustee of the RSPCA,  Chris Platt, the President of Esher and Walton Conservative Association and Lorraine Platt, Co Founder of Conservatives Against Fox Hunting.
At the roundtable, MPs heard talks on why the Hunting Act needs to remain in place to BlueFoxesCommonsbriefing118-6-13.jpgprotect wildlife, the hunt havoc that monitors experience, the latest successful prosecutions update and the polls demonstrating the majority opinion against hunting with dogs and hare coursing being made legal again.
MPs also had an opportunity to meet face to face the grassroots Conservative Councillors, Presidents, Chairs, Conservative think tanks policy Directors and Agents against the repeal of the Hunting Act which bans hunting with dogs.  It was the largest anti-hunt briefing table discussion to be held for anti repeal Conservative MPs in the present parliament and Conservatives Against Fox Hunting were delighted with the high attendance by Conservative MPs.

Cheshire FH rider cautioned for attack on female OAP League hunt monitor

14-6-13    LACS Press Release     Cheshire hunter and showjumper cautioned for threatening League Hunt monitor     Cheshire huntsman and international show jumper, Keith Shore has been issued with a Police caution for threatening behaviour against a volunteer League Against Cruel Sports Hunt Monitor.
During a Cheshire Hounds Hunt on 12th February 2013 at Church Minshull in Cheshire,  Keith Shore from Little Leigh, near Northwich, threateningly rode his horse at a 65 year old female volunteer monitor and attempted to rip a camera from around her neck, putting her in fear of severe injury.  Unknown to Mr Shore, his actions were filmed by another hunt monitor.  The incident was then reported to the Police, resulting in Mr Shore being given a Police Caution under Section 4 of the Public Order Act, for his behaviour.
The 65 year old victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, comments: "I attended the hunt legally and peacefully to gain video evidence of any illegal hunting taking place.  During the course of the hunt, whilst filming from within a few paces of a public footpath, huntsman Keith Shore galloped directly at me shouting very aggressively followed by the other riders. "I was terrified and froze on the spot as he did not seem to be slowing down to stop; he then attempted to rip my camera from around my neck and at the same time dragging me into his horse.  More riders then joined in and used their horses and riding crops to force me down an embankment.  It was a very distressing incident".
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports adds: "League monitors have the right to observe hunts without the fear of being threatened or assaulted for doing so.  Despite the Hunting Act, hunts continue to flout the law causing cruelty and suffering to our wildlife.  Our monitors are in place to catch any illegal activity to bring those responsible to justice."

Hunt sabs ready to put themselves in firing line to protect badgers from cull

14-6-13   Independent     Cull saboteurs: 'We will put ourselves between the bullets and the badgers'     Sarah Morrison delves inside the secret world of the people trying to stop the mass shootings Lynn, a 46-year-old midwife, finds a novel way to fill her days off. The one-time hunter is now a hunt saboteur who finds herself at the centre of the Government’s controversial badger cull.  She splits her time between maternity wards and patrolling country estates of Worcestershire.  She is just one of an estimated 700 saboteurs who are fighting the plan to use licensed marksmen to shoot around 5,000 badgers in two pilot cull zones in Gloucestershire and Somerset.
Around 500 of them are prepared to trespass on property to disrupt the cull. "Obviouslybadgercubs.jpg at night we’ll be finding the marksmen and putting ourselves between the bullets and the badgers," Lynn told The Independent.  The badger cull row tearing up the countryside shows no sign of dissipating.  While ministers argue that a cull is necessary to curb the spread of tuberculosis in cattle; critics argue that the cull is unethical or scientifically and economically flawed.  The coalition of opponents might be diverse – it includes Queen guitarist Brian May, TV presenter David Attenborough, and some prominent scientists – but it is the hunt saboteurs who stand accused of directing a "reign of terror" on farmers.  But Lynn believes they have been unfairly smeared.  "The typical stereotypical image of the hunt sab is someone dressed head-to-toe in black, someone who doesn’t work, a 20-something-year-old male, but that’s absolute nonsense.  The farming industry makes us out to be terrorists, or all evil people, but we’re individuals," she said.  Lynn, who has a number of animal rights convictions for her involvement in anti-hunting and anti-vivisection campaigns, founded the group 3 Counties Hunt Saboteurs, last year.  She gave up hunting after she saw some "terrible things" done to foxes, deer, hares and mink.  She said that "very committed" new people were joining the "sabs", or saboteurs, and scouring the fields straight from work. "We’re seeing doctors, teachers, all sorts of people," said Lynn, who can spend up to 50 hours a week checking badger setts, organising volunteers, or doing outreach.  She also works as a midwife on a shift basis at a local hospital, usually at night.  "I’m actually quite open about things," she said. "Some of my colleagues do know, just as I am aware of what they do out of work."
Detective Chief Superintendent Adrian Tudway, national co-ordinator for domestic extremism at the Association of Chief Police Officers, told the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) last year that clashes between protesters and cullers could pose "clear potential harm to public safety".  He added that there was "some potential for unlawful direct action, disorder and criminality" if the cull went ahead. This week it emerged that officers policing the culls have carried out "war games" with animal rights activists and cullers to simulate confrontations that might occur. Inspector Mark Ravenscroft of Gloucestershire Police said enforcing the cull remained a "big concern."  He stressed that the force will "allow people to bend the law to protest peacefully" by allowing a short protest on a highway, for example, to stop a group blocking the road all day.
But Elaine, a 49-year-old social care worker, who has volunteered as a hunting sab for over 25 years, said saboteurs "were not aggressors".  The Herefordshire-born activist treads a thin line between horse-owning country enthusiast and animal-rights crusader.  "I ride, I have my own horses, and I have drag hunted, but I was brought up to love and respect animals," she said.  "I don’t feel the need to go out in a balaclava. Work knows what I’m like and they don’t mind."  She denied sabs were using intimidating techniques and dismissed claims that by trespassing, she could be breaching the law.  "Whatever [the cull] is doing is 100 times worse that what I’m doing.  When it comes to saving lives, if I have to tread off a footpath to do it, it’s worth it," she said.
Michael, who is in his late sixties and has seven grandchildren, wants to help stop the cull.  The retired builder lives in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and has been involved in animal rights for 50 years.  The former trustee of a wildlife rescue centre said: "This unscientific experiment they’re doing is wrong. I’ll help as much as I can; [the grandchildren] are right behind me.  I spend four out of five days a week surveying and mapping sites, and checking setts aren’t baited.  We’ve definitely got public support."
A Defra spokesperson said: "People have a right to protest but this must be carried out within the law. The pilot culls are a legal and lawful activity and it is wholly unacceptable that those involved should be subject to intimidation or be a target for criminal activity."


'Bonkers Boris' calls for fox hunting on the streets of London
13-6-13   Metro    Boris Johnson has called for fox hunts in London to deal with the problem of increased numbers of the animals in the capital     The mayor of London described how he was enraged after his cat was attacked and was tempted to go out and ‘blaze away' at the fox with his air rifle. There are around 10,000 foxes in the capital out of a total 33,000 living in urban areas across the UK, around 14 per cent of the total population of the animals. Earlier this year a four-week-old baby had his finger ripped off by a fox. Mr Johnson said it was time to brining in culling to keep numbers in check. ‘This will cause massive unpopularity and I don't care.....  I got wild with anger not so long ago because I thought our cat had been mauled by a fox. I wanted to go out with my 2.2 and blaze away. After I had felt these feelings of blind anger to the fox population I started to wonder if his injuries were compatible with cat on cat. It is all too easy to stigmatise people.'  He recommended, however, that people with fox problems should call pest control.
But Joe Duckworth, chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports: ‘We can only assume that the mayor is joking with this preposterous suggestion.  He cannot seriously be suggesting that packs of dogs should be allowed to hunt wildlife through the city or that people should be permitted to freely walk around with dangerous firearms.'

14-6-13   Boris: Bring Back Fox Hunting     London mayor Boris Johnson has called for the return of fox hunting to cull the capital’s roving reynards.  Following a BorisJfoxhunting.jpghandful of high-profile attacks on small children and household pets, foxes were described as ‘a pest and a menace’.  The subsequent mass anti-fox hysteria has led to repeated calls for a cull which Johnson seems only too happy to oblige.
The mayor said: "I got wild with anger not so long ago because I thought our cat had been mauled by a fox. I wanted to go out with my 2.2 and blaze away.  This will cause massive unpopularity and I don’t care. I’m pro liberty and individual freedom. If people want to get together to form the fox hounds of Islington I’m all for it"
Given the congestion on London’s roads, we think that using cycle hire bikes might be more appropriate than a herd of horses galloping at full chat down, say, the Strand and would mean people with dogs could participate. And instead of air rifles — which could be a hazard for innocent non-fox pedestrians, we’d recommend a large fishing net.  Or people could just stop putting food out for them and call pest control. Except that wouldn’t make such a snappy headline for the mayor.

POWAperson comments:-   Doubtless Boris 'Motor Mouth' Johnson was essaying a feeble joke by calling for mounted fox hunts in Islington.  However, he is on record as strongly supporting the repeal of the Hunting Act and has called for culling of London's urban foxes.  Fortunately, though the vast majority of Tory MPs support repeal, the Government does not have the Commons votes to push it through. Also, policy in the fox control area is determined by the individual London boroughs, not him, and none of them currently endorse culling.  POWA, of course, fervently opposes both Hunting Act repeal and the killing of urban foxes. 

Heythrop trial judge rapped by authorities for criticising RSPCA prosecution

7-6-13   Daily Telegraph    Cameron fox hunt judge criticised for questioning RSPCA     A judge who questioned the "staggering" amount of money the RSPCA spent prosecuting David Cameron's local hunt has been slapped down by the judicial authorities.  District judge Tim Pattinson told a court he thought the charity's resources might have been more "usefully employed" than on the case against the Heythrop hunt, based in the Prime Minister's constituency in Oxfordshire.  His comments were echoed by MPs who accused the RSPCA of using prosecutions for "political" purposes but infuriated animal rights protesters, who are believed to have been behind a string of official complaints.
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, and Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling, ruled out disciplinary action against District judge Tim Pattinson.  But they recommended that he be given "informal advice" over expressing what appeared to be "personal opinions" in court.DavidCameronandGuyAvisHonSecHeythropFH.jpg  The hunt and its members were fined £6,800 after pleading guilty to four charges of hunting foxes with hounds at a hearing at Oxford magistrates' Court last year, in what was the first prosecution of its kind since Labour banned the pursuit. It was based on 500 hours of footage filmed by animal rights activists which was then passed to the RSPCA who brought the case.
But the court heard that charity ran up costs of almost £330,000 - 10 times those of the defence.  After passing sentence, District Judge Pattinson told the court: "Members of the public may feel that RSPCA funds can be more usefully employed. "It is not for me to express an opinion but I merely flag it up but I do find it to be a quite staggering figure."  In a debate shortly after the hearing a string of Tory MPs accused the RSPCA of using prosecutions for "political campaigns".  But the RSPCA's chief executive, Gavin Grant, defended prosecuting the hunt - with which David Cameron used to ride before the ban - even suggesting fox hunters should be jailed for up to five years, putting the offence on a par with killing a person by dangerous driving.
A spokeswoman for the judiciary said: "An investigation into the remarks found that District Judge Pattinson's comments did not constitute judicial misconduct. The Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor have considered the conclusions of the investigation and agreed that no disciplinary action is required.  However, District Judge Pattinson has been given informal advice.  While he was entitled to make observations about the level of costs involved in the prosecution, he went on to express what appeared to be a personal opinion about the way in which RSPCA funds should or should not be employed."

POWAperson adds:  The giving of 'informal advice' to Judge Pattinson might not seem much, but it is rare for the authorities to make any criticism of, let alone take disciplinary action,  against judges.  That a pro-hunt Conservative Lord Chancellor should do so is some indication of just how inappropriate the Judge's remarks were.  One trusts that his seeming pro-hunt stance [something that has, thankfully, not been evident among other judges who have tried Hunting Act cases] would not have swayed his verdicts had the Heythrop chosen to plead not guilty. Hopefully, the 'informal advice' given to him about his inappropriate remarks will help to ensure that judges will be extra careful not to allow their personal predilections to sway their handling of, or comments about, future Hunting Act trials.


MAY 2013

..... 27th May - Cameron blocked my peerage because I'm anti-hunt, says Widdecombe

..... 22nd May - North Yorkshire Wildlife Crime Officer who hunts is removed from her post

..... 14th May - CPS refuse to prosecute drunk supporter who forced himself on female sabs

..... 14th May - Cattistock FH JM resigns as Wildlife Trust patron after badger cull protests

..... 10th May - CA appeal for police to stop sabs concealing identities in hunting field

.....  9th May - Albrighton FH Huntsman killed himself by shooting, inquest finds

.....  7th May - Avon Vale FH JM and terrierman fined for severe damage to badger sett

.....  6th May - Row over LACS film showing child playing by mutilated carcass of stag



 Cameron blocked my peerage because I'm anti-hunt - Anne Widdecombe

27-5-13    Daily Express     David Cameron blocked my peerage over hunting, says Ann Widdecombe     ANN WIDDECOMBE [left] was told that her opposition to fox hunting was AnneWiddecombe.jpgthe reason for David Cameron blocking her from receiving a peerage, she said yesterday. The former Tory minister revealed that she was warned by an "unimpeachable source" that the Prime Minister was against her getting a seat in the House of Lords. And she claimed that Tory Party grandee Lord Strathclyde "said in front of others it was because of hunting". She said: "I cannot believe Cameron is that petty or so much in the grip of the squirearchy."
Ms Widdecombe, a Daily Express columnist, discusses the issue in her new memoir Strictly Ann. Of Mr Cameron she said: "I thought him big-headed and dismissive of everything that had gone before."  Given her popularity among grass-roots Tories, the former Home Office minister was seen as a prime candidate for a peerage when the Coalition came to power.  Yet when the incoming Government ennobled a string of supporters, her name was absent from the list.
In extracts from the forthcoming book, Ms Widdecombe said: "There is no prescriptive right to go to the Lords and a place there is purely at the gift of the PM, but there had to be a strong probability. I was a Privy Counsellor, had served in senior ministerial office, had been shadow home secretary and was one of the biggest players in the Hague years.  I had emerged clean from the expenses scandal and few did more to travel theDavidCameronandGuyAvisHonSecHeythropFH.jpg country cheering the troops and raising funds.  So it was natural enough for colleagues to tell me I was bound to be asked.  Most of them did not believe me when I told them it wouldn't happen, but I knew because I had received private intelligence from an unimpeachable source that Cameron had set his face against it.  The leader of the Lords, Tom Strathclyde, said in front of a number of MPs that it was because of hunting but I cannot believe Cameron [right, with hunting pal] is that petty or that much in the grip of the squirearchy.
I come from a hunting family. My mother used to walk to otter hounds and I grew up with the head of one poor beast decorating the wall, while my father rode to foxhounds in his youth, as did my grandfather. I do not object to killing foxes, but I strongly object to the chase whereby an animal runs for its life with the hounds getting closer. It is barbarous that such an activity should be regarded as a sport."

POWAPerson adds: - It has for some years been extremely difficult for any anti-hunt Conservative MP to achieve Government office, though Anne, remarkably, still managed to reach senior Ministerial level.  Currently, all of Cameron's Conservative Cabinet members are pro-hunt, nor are there any antis at all in the ranks of Tory senior or junior Ministers.

N.Yorks police Wildlife Crime Officer who hunts is removed from  post
Sab complaints of failure to act against illegal hunting led to her removal
22-5-13   HSA Press Release     Hunting Wildlife Crime Officer removed from post    Hunt Saboteurs have today welcomed news that PC Sarah Ward, from North Yorkshire Police is no longer in position as a Wildlife Crime Officer.  This comes after a complaint made by a saboteur about the officers link to the Badsworth & Bramham Moor Foxhounds.
On 9th March 2013, Sarah Ward had been involved in a case in which the York & Ainsty South Foxhounds had been accused of deliberately illegally hunting and killing a fox at a meet near Escrick Park, North Yorkshire.  Saboteurs from Sheffield and Manchester had witnessed the huntsman lead the hounds into a large area of elephant grass, where they quickly picked up on a scent of a fox.  They reported that the hounds were encouraged by the huntsman before catching and killing the fox.  Two red coated members quickly rode away with the fox's body and only entrails were left.  The saboteurs presented the entrails to police officers in attendance and Sarah Ward was called to take statements from witnesses.  The questions asked by Ward were geared more towards gathering more information on saboteurs than the incident in question.
Sarah Ward had also been involved in a case where it was alleged that the Y&ASSabspreventillegaldig-out26-11-11.JPG terriermen had dug into a badget set on 17th December 2011.  No action was taken and we can only wonder if there have been other cases she has thrown out.  She was also involved in a failed case of "trespassing to disrupt a lawful activity" against hunt sabs in 26th November 2011, when the saboteurs had stopped an unlawful dig-out of a fox [see pic, right, and video].
Hunt saboteurs were informed that Sarah Ward rides with the Badsworth & Bramham Moor Foxhounds who saboteurs allege consistently and routinely flout the Hunting Act 2004.  In an email, the hunt saboteur witnesses challenged Ward on her involvement with the hunt and she responded:  "I do follow hounds occasionally and don't see what my hobbies have to do with members of the public as others wouldn't tell them they go bike riding." .  A few minutes later two attempts were made to recall the email.  This information was then used to make an official complaint about Ward being biased in favour of the hunt.  Following the complaint, a letter from North Yorkshire Police, dated 12 April 2013 reported that Ward "will no longer deal with similar matters or any wildlife crime".  Saboteurs working in the North Yorkshire area welcome this decision and hope that Ward's successor is someone who actually cares about wildlife crime, and not potentially a part of it. 
Lee Moon, press officer of the HSA stated: "North Yorkshire Police have clearly made the correct decision in removing Sarah Ward from her post as Wildlife Officer, but the question should be asked what vetting procedure is used as well what training and expected skills are required regarding this post.  Clearly there is a failure in the process so far.  Although hunts ‘could' be acting legally considering the frequent convictions using the Hunting Act, the claims made in the press by the Countryside Alliance, and the clear intention to return to legal hunting as soon as they can, any person who rides with a hunt cannot be seen as a fit person to be a Police wildlife officer.  We assume all Wildlife cases she has been involved in will be reviewed, especially the most recent cases and appropriate actions taken by the police."

'Drunk' hunt supporter who forced himself on female sabs escapes charge

14-5-13   HSA Press Release    On Tuesday 19th March 2013, Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt, Dean Common Farm,CotswoldValesupporterAdrianWood.JPG a drunken hunt supporter - Adrian Wood [right] - forced entry to a hunt saboteur vehicle.  The two female occupants could not stop his advances and had to drive away with him inside the vehicle in the hope that other hunt saboteurs or members of the hunt would be able to assist in removing him from their vehicle.  Although other members of the Hunt were in attendance none made any moves to assist.  The two saboteurs were the subject of unwanted physical advances while trying to gain assistance by calling 999.  Eventually they managed to remove him from their vehicle. Although called the police did not attend the scene (Crime ref CR/06463/13). After an investigation the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to prosecute. Video of the incident can be viewed here.
Lee Moon, press officer of the HSA stated:- "If two women had been subjected to the forced entry of their vehicle by a drunken yob in a town high street, and had then been made to drive him around while being the victim of unwanted advances we suspect that the police would have responded in a different fashion. Once again those who try and protect our wildlife from the excesses of the countryside thugs are left to fend for themselves. This of course will not deter our brave people but it stinks of hypocrisy and inequality."

Cattistock FH JM resigns as Dorset Wildlife Trust patron after badger cull protests

14-5-13   BBC News Online     Dorset Wildlife Trust patron quits in badger cull row    One of Britain's richest women has quit her post as patron of Dorset Wildlife Trust after the charity was targeted by animal rights activists. Campaigners accused Charlotte Townshend of backing the government's pilot badger culls to tackle the spread of tuberculosis among cattle. Chief executive Simon Cripps branded the activists "internet trolls". Pilot culls are planned in Gloucestershire and Somerset this summer but Dorset is a LadyCharlotteTownshendingear.jpgreserve area.
A spokesman for Ilchester Estates and Mrs Townshend [left], who is also joint master of Cattistock Hunt, said she would "never do anything to harm the work of Dorset Wildlife Trust".  A statement read: "It is a great shame that some of those who claim to be campaigning for wildlife actually focus on such negative activity rather than engaging in the sort of positive conservation work which Mrs Townshend has carried out over decades."
Following her decision to step down, Stop The Cull, a coalition of action groups campaigning against the badger culling, posted online: "We haven't 'targeted' the Dorset Wildlife Trust at all. "We have not asked anyone to stop their subscription, we have not asked for boycotts, we haven't set up an email campaign, all we did with regards to the Trust was tweet them a few times and leave some messages on their Facebook page. "If anyone thinks that is 'targeting' then they need to sniff the smelling salts."
Mr Cripps said he Mrs Townshend's resignation was "a blow." He said: "As yet Dorset's only on a reserve list so there isn't yet a cull, so it is strange to say the least that people would assume that any particular landowner would be for and against because they haven't yet been asked." He added: "These are internet trolls because they're not prepared to listen to a sensible reasoned debate on this. We are the most outspoken organisation against badger culling, so why attack us?" Ilchester Estates has declined to comment on whether Mrs Townshend supports the badger cull.
POWAPerson adds:-   Viscountess Townshend has a personal fortune reportedly worth £375 million, owns much of Holland Park in London and a 15,000 acre estate in Dorset, including the Swannery at Abbotsbury. She has been the leading light of the Cattistock FH for many years.  It is unusual these days for an active hunter to hold a significant position in a county wildlife trust, though it was once common as they sought to protect hunting and other bloodsports interests. So it is high time Dorset Wildlife Trust brought itself into the 21st century in this respect.  Unless, of course, you count helping to slaughter the area's foxes [which, pre-ban at least, would have involved significant badger-sett interference] and blocking the creation of a national nature reserve [including Chesil Beach, which she also owns] because she was annoyed about the imminent hunting ban, POWA is unclear what she has done to positively help wildlife in Dorset. That she would permit her land to be part of a reserve badger cull zone seems a reasonable inference to draw, especially given her refusal to comment on the subject. 

CA appeal for police to stop sabs concealing identities in the hunting field

10-5-13   Horse & Hound     Antis must uncover their faces to protect hunt followers     Police are being urged to enforce laws stripping protestors of balaclavas, in a bid to help protect hunt followers. Countryside Alliance chairman Sir Barney White-Spunner has written to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), following serious assaults at a Badsworth and Bramham Moor meet and the High Peak kennels. "We at the Countryside Alliance are increasingly concerned about attacks on hunt supporters and staff by people wearing balaclavas and face coverings to avoid detection," said Sir Barney in his letter to ACPO president, Sir Hugh Orde. "We ask you please to write to police forces across the country, reminding officers of their powers under Section 60AA of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 [the power to remove disguises]."
In October last year, Badsworth and Bramham Moor hunt supporter and landowner Charles Warde-Aldam was repeatedly hit on the head with a heavy torch. Although the assault was filmed, his attackers were wearing masks and therefore could not be identified. In a similar attack, two masked assailants clubbed and kicked High Peak huntsman Nigel Cox at his kennels in December. No one has been charged over either incident.
There is currently a discrepancy in different parts of the country as to how the police enforce Section 60AA. Crawley and Horsham senior master Antony Sandeman told H&H he believes Sussex is "a soft target", drawing sabs in balaclavas from many areas because they know the police will not challenge them. "  Surrey Police [the neighbouring force] do enforce Section 60, but Sussex won’t unless there’s a direct threat of violence," said Mr Sandeman. "I hope this letter will do some good, but I feel like we’re banging our heads against a brick wall. It’s all down to the chief constable, and if he doesn’t want to enforce it we’ve got no chance."

POWAPerson says;-  Given the historically very high levels of violence by hunters and supporters towards sabs [and, indeed, monitors] - and the attitudes of some police forces towards sabs - it is understandable if some prefer to conceal their faces, though this is not standard practice. Sabs are themselves not infrequently confronted, and sometimes attacked by, gangs of masked supporters. POWA, of course, does not condone any physical violence other than reasonable force necessary for self-defence.


Suicide by shooting verdict on Albrighton Huntsman found dead at home

9-5-13  Wolverhampton Express & Star   Veteran of Albrighton Hunt shot himself, inquest told     An experienced member of the Albrighton Hunt shot himself in the head at his home, an inquest has ruled.  Ray Shaw [left] was found dead on December 11 last year after failing to turn up for a hunt.  South Shropshire coroner John Ellery today returned the verdict that Mr Shaw had killed himself.  The inquest, held at Bridgnorth Council Albrightonex-huntsmanRayShaw.deceased.jpgChamber, heard that Mr Shaw had used his hand gun to shoot himself.
His wife, Margaret Shaw, told the inquest he had used the hand gun frequently in his job.  She said his role involved looking after the hounds and horses used for the hunt, and humanely killing injured animals.  She said: "He loved his dogs and his horses. He had the gun as a humane killer. It took one bullet and he used it often in his job. He never made a mistake and never got anything wrong, even with the horses."  The inquest was told that when a CID officer told Mrs Shaw her husband had been found dead, she said ‘he’s shot himself’. Mrs Shaw said: "He always said that would be the way he would go, but I always thought it was just in jest."
Miles Salmon, a former joint master huntsman for the Albrighton Hunt, went to Mr Shaw’s house on Holyhead Road, Albrighton, when he failed to turn up for the hunt.  Mr Salmon said:  "I could see that the food had been put out for the hounds for when they returned that night, but the horses had not been cleaned out. They were not distressed, but something was clearly wrong. There was something in the air, that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. That is a feeling I will never forget."  Mr Salmon told the inquest that he decided to force the door open with another huntsman who he had arranged to meet at the property, Brian Hinks.  After forcing the door open, they checked the house and Mr Salmon found 45-year-old Mr Shaw in his bedroom.  He said: "He was white and had his hands by his side. I called Brian and then we went downstairs."
Coroner Ellery ruled that Mr Shaw had died at his home some time between 7.20pm on December 11 and had been discovered the next morning by Mr Salmon and Mr Hinks.  A post-mortem, carried out at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford on December 14, said Mr Shaw had died from a gunshot wound to the middle of his forehead.  Following Mr Shaw’s tragic death friends and colleagues paid tribute to the ‘hardworking man’ who put everything into his job and was ‘extremely professional’ in all that he did.

POWAPerson adds;   Being in such despair that one feels the need to take one's own life is not a fate to wish on one's worst enemy, so condolences to Mr.Shaw's friends and family.  Given his stated role in the Hunt, though, it seems likely that he would frequently have used his gun to execute 'surplus' hounds.  POWA calculations, based on data provided by Hunts themselves,  show that UK Hunts probably kill between 5,000 and 8,000 of their own dogs every year, most of them perfectly healthy and aged no more than 6 or 7.  So this, and the thought of how many foxes may have died in terror partly due to his hunting activities might cause some to temper any natural human sympathy they may feel for his plight.   

Avon Vale FH JM and terrierman fined for severe damage to badger sett
Judge criticises RSPCA for sudden dropping of Hunting Act charges against them and 3 others

7-5-13   Daily Mail    Hunt master and friend caught digging up a badger sett as they tried to free a lost terrier are fined £300     A joint hunt master and a terrierman pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett today after they caused the 'most severe' damage an RSPCA officer had seen in 25 years.  Stuart Radborne, 28, was caught 'waist-deep' in the sett as he and Ben Pethers, 29, frantically excavated the animals' home to try and find a lost terrier called Jimmy.  Members of the public suspected them of illegal hunting and alerted the police and the RSPCA.
They were charged with the badger sett attack and jointly charged with breaching the Hunting Act along with Jonathon Seed, 54, the former master of the Avon Vale Hunt, and two other hunt staff, Paul Tylee-Hinder, 58, and Josh Charlesworth, 18.  But today, at North Wiltshire Magistrates Court in Wiltshire, the RSPCA dropped the hunt charges after Radborne and Pethers pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett.
Outside court an outraged Mr Seed condemned the RSPCA prosecution as a 'complete outrage' and a 'disgrace'. Mr Seed, a Conservative councillor for Wiltshire, said: '.... The RSPCA has spent £50,000 pursuing this and they have been given £500 in costs. It is an absolute disgrace. The two members of our group who pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett is an unfortunate event but they were going after their dog and the sentence reflected the judges view.'
District Judge Simon Cooper heard that on March 6 2012 the five men, who were out hunting, were alerted that their dogs had marked a fox in a nearby field. 
Radbourne and Pethers, who were riding on a quad bike, reached the area first and began to assess the situation.  They let the inexperienced terrier, Jimmy, loose and it ran off and disappeared. The huntsmen located the dog in the sett after they heard barking from below the ground.  They tried to use a location collar to pull him out but when that failed they began digging at the ground to free him, the court was told.
Jeremy Cave, prosecuting, said: 'An onlooker saw the men digging in the sett and describes the digging as furious with soil flying. The police and the RSPCA turned up and the men were questioned. There had been considerable interference with the set, digging and filling in the entrances. In total there were 15 entrances to the sett, 11 of which had been blocked. RSPCA Inspector Ian Burns, who turned up at the site, described it as "the worst find he has ever witnessed in his 25 years of being an inspector".'  He added that Radbourne had been seen by another onlooker waist deep in the sett digging.  The traumatised terrier eventually resurfaced two hours after it had first become stuck, suffering deep cuts and puncture wounds to his neck and face.
The RSPCA had originally brought charges against all five huntsman of breaking the Hunting Act ban, but decided to drop the cases after accepting the guilty pleas from Radbourne, of Chippenham, and Pethers, of Southwick. Mr Seed, of Bromham, Mr Tylee-Hinder, of Calne, and Mr Charlesworth, of East Tytherton, all denied any wrong-doing. Clive Rees, defending Radbourne, told the court: 'It was certainly a badger sett and it was accepted that he had been the one who was up to his waist in it and he took full responsibility for that. But it was out of concern for the terrier. Mr Radbourne accepted his responsibility from the beginning. Seeing it was an active badger set made him even more concerned about Jimmy.'  Janet Gedrych, for Mr Pethers, said her client had accepted that it was 'reckless' to let Jimmy free. It was clear that Jimmy had escaped and it was reckless to allow the dog out of the cage before fully investigating,' he said. 'He accepts that he was digging in an effort to find his dog, he didn't intentionally set out to damage the sett but he acted recklessly to find his lost dog.'
District Judge Cooper handed the pair a £300 fine and ordered them to pay £250 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. He told them: 'In my mind the main aspect of this case was a failure to control Jimmy. Reliable or not, he should have been kept in his box. He got out and disappeared down the sett. Why he did it is speculation, but that he should have been allowed to do it was wrong. You are both responsible and you both could have prevented it.'
Tim Bonner, director of campaigns at the Countryside Alliance, accused the RSPCA of wasting money on a 'politically motivated' prosecution. He said: 'It is absolutely disgraceful that the RSPCA has spent 14 months and £50,000 of its members' money on a prosecution which was completely groundless and clearly politically motivated. It is even worse that the taxpayer has had to pick up the bill for the court and the defendants' costs.'... 
The RSPCA inspector who complied the case against the five men said he would have been 'heavily criticised' if he had walked away from prosecution. Inpector Ian Burns said: 'There was severe damage to that badger sett and with all the money it has cost I would have been heavily criticised if I had walked away and left it. 'I have had 25 years' experience as a wildlife officer and I have dealt with numerous badger cases and that is the biggest, deepest, hole that I have seen dug.'
A spokesman for the RSPCA added: 'The RSPCA received a call that a group of men had been seen on and around a badger sett in Stockley Hollow at the time that the Avon Vale was riding in the vicinity.  On examining the area, RSPCA inspector Ian Burns found that a large hole had been dug directly down into the active badger sett, breaking a tunnel and entrances had been blocked up.  A small Patterdale terrier emerged from the sett, muddy, dazed and bleeding badly from his jaw.  He was fitted with an underground location collar. The dog, which belonged to Pethers, was taken to a vet who found his injuries were consistent with having been attacked by the claws and teeth of an animal whilst underground.  The defendants gave conflicting accounts at the scene including chasing foxes, rabbits and searching for a lost dog.'  The badger sett where the men were spotted was in Stockley Hollow, near Calne, Wiltshire. The RSPCA was today unable to confirm the exact amount spent on the prosecution.

-5-13  Daily Telegraph   RSPCA criticised by judge for wasting 'valuable' court time by calling off Hunting Act prosecution at 11th hour    The RSPCA has been criticised by a judge for wasting "valuable" court time and tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' and donors money by calling off a hunting prosecution at the 11th hour.  A joint hunt master and a terrierman pleaded guilty to interfering with a badger sett after they caused the "most severe" damage an RSPCA officer had seen in 25 years. But another prosecution at North Wiltshire Magistrates Court against five members of the Vale of Avon hunt under the Hunting Act was dropped at the 11th hour....  The costs of the failed case - which will be borne by the charity's donors and the taxpayer - are likely to run into tens of thousands of pounds.
After the pleas were entered, district Judge Simon Cooper criticised the RSPCA and the time it had spent bringing the case, only for it to collapse at the last moment. He said: "It has taken a long time to get to this point, I'm disappointed that seven days of valuable court time have been set aside for this trial only for it not to happen. That is denying so many other defendants their chance to court time and prove their innocence."....
The judge asked prosecutor Jeremy Cave to justify why the case was taken to court. He said: "Why don't you explain why you bought the case Mr Cave because you are going to be criticised and I think you should explain why you bought the action, and why you subsequently decided to drop the other charges?"  Mr Cave replied: "This is a matter that the RSPCA approached as they would any responsible prosecutor would.  They looked at all the overall criminality and reflected on the court resources and the seriousness of allegations and the amounts of culpability. They applied the CPS test in terms of the public interest. This is a very significant case of set interference and in those circumstances the two individuals that have pleaded guilty are the most serious players and in those circumstances we would consider it difficult to justify very serious expenses of a seven day trial. 
The court will be aware that this case was referred by the defendants for review by the complex case unit by the CPS.  An independent review by the CPS said there was a public interest met in this case.... "...  Last year the RSPCA was heavily criticised for bringing a £326,000 private prosecution against the Heythrop hunt in David Cameron's Oxfordshire constituency. A spokesman for the RSPCA said: "We make no apology for trying to protect animals from suffering. We would not bring a case unless there was good evidence and have applied the CPS test to do it.".... 

POWAPerson says:-  
Are we seriously expected to believe that the terrier was released for any purpose other than to enter the sett, when the hunters apparently believed a fox had been 'marked' by hounds to that very location?  Why go to the sett, let alone take a terrier there, unless they were intending to use it to pursue a fox underground ?  Sorry, but the Judge seems gullible in accepting their flimsy explanations.
As a hunt monitor for many years I witnessed many pre-ban digouts of foxes and the hunters were always quite fanatical about it. They would dig for hours, if necessary, anywhere, including active badger setts [in which foxes will seek temporary shelter] and move prodigious quantities of soil - all to reach and kill one terrified animal, cowering from the attacks of their vicious terrier [of whose welfare they are utterly careless].  If the Avon Vale terrier was entered deliberately, then they - probably all of them, not just the two fined - were breaking the Hunting Act.
Whilst there may be some valid explanation of which we are ignorant, it seems a great pity that the RSPCA prosecution did not press the Hunting Act charges and force the judge to decide whether to give credence to the hunters'  flimsy excuses. They may have lost, but that would, at least, have illustrated the weaknesses of the Hunting Act. As is, I'm afraid they have opened themselves to stinging criticism from the Judge and provided more grist to the pro-hunt mill.

Row over LACS monitor film that shows small child playing near mutilated deer carcass

6.5.13   Western Morning News     Video showing child 'playing' near mutilated deer joins battleground over hunting    The battleground over fox and stag hunting in the West involved children this week after anti-hunt monitors controversially published a video of a child "playing" near a mutilated deer that it claims had just been killed by a QuantockSHhuntersroundslaughteredstag18-4-13.JPGSomerset hunt. Meanwhile, the pro-hunt Countryside Alliance took its campaign to educate youngsters about fox hunting into schools, by publishing a new document tailored "especially" for children who are engaging in classroom debates about the controversy.
League Against Cruel Sports monitors said they filmed the video footage of a hunt chasing a deer while they stood in their own sanctuary land on Exmoor at Baronsdown. The video, posted online, shows a deer being ‘herded' by crowds of foot followers away from the league's land.  Later images show a dead deer with its hooves removed, and what the monitors said was a "young unidentifiable child" seen "playing with a ball beside the dead animal". It claims the footage was taken on April 18.
For years, hunts have bitterly complained about anti-hunt monitors filming them, and in particular filming young riders following the hunt, or children following on foot. A spokesman for the League defended its decision to film the child. "The camera was fixedQuantockSHChildplaysbymutilatedstag18-4-13.JPG on a tripod and the child, which cannot be identified, wandered into view when playing around the dead, mutilated stag which was being filmed," he said. "The child was not tracked by the camera coming into view nor leaving. The investigators openly filmed the scene from a public footpath in clear view of hunt supporters. The League finds young children being exposed to blood sports of great concern."
Meanwhile, the Countryside Alliance said it was actively encouraging school pupils to get its side of the argument on hunting. Executive chairman Barney White-Spunner, from Dorset, said: "We have numerous requests for material from young people taking part in school or college debates on hunting and so have tailored a new document especially for them. There is a real thirst for information; it is up to us to provide the facts so that informed debate, and a healthy interest in the countryside, can follow," he added....
Pic above left - Hunters and hounds surround the slaughtered stag
Pic above right - Small child plays next to the mutilated corpse

POWAperson adds:-   The video posted by LACS can be seen here.  Pretending concern about children out with Hunts being incidentally caught on monitoring footage is merely yet another of the cynical ploys used by hunters. Indeed, there are reports of them deliberately encouraging child riders in front of monitors' cameras, then calling the antis 'paedophiles'. One woman rider recently worked herself into such a froth about her teenage daughter being in shot that she attacked a monitor with her riding crop [for which she was fined] while her daughter, distressed by her behaviour, screamed at her to stop.
The true 'child abuse' here is surely inculcating children into a culture where they are taught that it is OK to terrorise and kill wild animals for 'sport' and revel in their bloody, violent deaths. Traditionally, even very young children attending their first hunts were 'blooded' by having the slaughtered animal's blood smeared on their faces and were often given a cut off part of the animal as a 'trophy'. POWAPerson has himself witnessed hunt supporters rushing tiny children to the scene of a fresh deer-kill, where they were made to watch as the carcass was 'grallocked' [cut open and its inner organs removed] for the hounds to feast on, and the cutting off of hooves and ears.
Trophy-taking is evidently still alive and well in the deer-hunting community, as the classic hoof-stripping has clearly been done to the carcass of the slaughtered deer in the recent LACS video and one caring parent was obviously sanguine about allowing their small daughter to play right next to the mutilated body. Rumour has it that one particularly voluble hunt supporter is currently facing a possible libel suit after going way over the top in his online remarks re. the filming of the child and those allegedly responsible for it.

APRIL 2013

..... 28th April - Activists may target estate of mega-rich Cattistock JM over badger cull

..... 26th April - Female Portman FH rider sought by police after unprovoked attack on hunt spectator

..... 25th April - Chairman of MFHA says that number of fox hunt packs should be cut by 50

..... 24th April - Cheshire Forest FH whipper-in charged with assaults and sex offences on 2 women

..... 19th April - Artificial fox earth found in heart of Heythrop FH country

..... 15th April - Old Berks FH woman rider fined for unprovoked attack on monitor

..... 12th April - Three Cattistock FH supporters charged after monitors robbed of cameras

..... 12th April - Another RSPCA badger sett interference case against hunt terriermen fails

..... 11th April - Crawley & Horsham FH Huntsman fined for Criminal Damage to sab vehicle

...... 9th April - Weston JM acquitted as could not be shown he personally participated in illegal hunting

.....  6th April - York & Ainsty S FH illegal hunting case dropped as sabs allege police complicity



Activists may target estate of mega-rich Cattistock JM over badger cull

28-4-13   Sunday Times   Badger activists target estate of wealthy huntswoman over cull     ANIMAL rights activists are threatening to target the Dorset estate of one of Britain's wealthiest women after identifying it as a potential badger cull site. The Coalition of Badger Action Groups, an umbrella group of anti-cull activists, believes the estate of Charlotte Townshend, ranked the 29th richest woman in Britain in The Sunday Times Rich List, will form part of a cull being planned for the area. Jay Tiernan, a spokesman for the badger coalition, said activists were planning to release game birds and deer from the MelburyParhomeofCharlotteTownshendCattitockJM.jpgestate in protest. He claimed they had already gained access to the 15,000-acre estate, which stretches along the south Dorset coast, where they took photographs of pheasant pens.
Many dairy farmers believe culling is the only way to eradicate bovine tuberculosis and save their cattle. Two trial areas in Gloucestershire and Somerset have been given licences to carry out badger culls from June but a third, standby area in Dorset has also been licensed in case there are problems with the first two.  The activists say part of Townshend's estate - which includes her home, the 17th-century, grade I-listed Melbury House [left] - lies within the standby zone, which is in the north of the county.  A larger part of her estate falls inside another area that is likely to be included in a second tranche of badger culls if those in the trial areas go according to plan.
Trevor Cligg, deputy chairman of the county branch of the National Farmers Union, confirmed that planning for a west Dorset cull was under way, but insisted no details had been finalised. "These activists have added two and two together and got five or significantly more than that . . . I wish we were [more advanced with the cull planning] but we're not," he said.
Townshend, 58, has a fortune calculated at £375m, largely through the income produced from 20 acres of land she owns in Holland Park, an exclusive area of west London. The keen huntswoman inherited the fortune from her parents, the 9th Viscount Galway and Lady Theresa, the daughter of the 7th Earl of Ilchester. Her Holland Park properties include the mansion lived in by the late Michael Winner, the film director and restaurant critic, and the home of Bryan Ferry, the musician.
POWAperson adds:-   Hunting fanatic Lady Charlotte was so incensed at Labour's plans to ban hunting with hounds that, in 1999, she reportedly blocked the creation of a much-trumpeted new Nature Reserve which was to include Cheshil Beach - which she owns.
Since the creation of the Electoral Donations Register in 2001, she, her husband and her company, Ilchester Estates, have made donations totalling £84,000 to the Conservative Party.

Female Portman FH rider sought after whip assault on hunt spectator

26-4-13   Sky News   Horse Whip Assault Woman Hunted By Police    Police arePortmanridersoughtafterattackonspectatorin12-12.jpg looking for a woman horse-rider [right] who hit a 63-year-old with her whip as he watched a Dorset hunt. A woman horse-rider, who whipped a man around the head with her riding crop as he watched a hunt, is being sought by police.
The 63-year-old victim was at the Portman Hunt near Sturminster Newton in Dorset when he was struck by the rider in what police are describing as an "unprovoked attack". The man, from Somerset, was not injured in the attack but was left "shaken" by the experience. Officers have released a picture of a woman horse-rider they would like to speak to about the incident and appealed to anyone with information to come forward.
Police Constable Patrick McLoughlin, of North Dorset Police, said: "Following extensive inquiries, we are now able to release a photo of a woman we would like to track down and speak with in relation to this incident. "This was an unprovoked assault on a man at a prestigious Dorset event, and we are very keen to find the person responsible. Luckily the victim did not require any hospital treatment, but was obviously left shaken by the ordeal. The rider's horse is quite distinctive in that it has a white mark just above its eyes and also on its nose."
The incident happened in the area of Crate Hill in Fifehead St Quintin at around 3.25pm on December 19. Witnesses have been urged to contact police and reports will be treated in the strictest confidence. They should use the non-emergency number 101 or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. No arrests have been made.
POWAPerson adds:- It seems unlikely that other Hunt members do not know the identity of the alleged offender, so it would appear they have so far been unwilling to give her up to police.  The Portman has, over the years, acquired a reputation for the ferocity of some of its followers [which POWAPerson once experienced]. Consequently the Hunt has long been largely avoided by antis. The picture below shows Portman supporters in full attack mode in the mid '90s. 

Chairman of MFHA says number of fox hunt packs should be cut by 50

25-4-13   Horse & Hound     .... To keep British hunting healthy and to strengthen its StephenLambert.jpgchances of survival, Stephen [Lambert, left]] strongly believes that the number of foxhounds packs must be dramatically reduced by as many as fifty [which is about a quarter of the total]. "We have too many packs operating on a small, overcrowded island." he says " And I worry when kennels are staffed by just one person. Pre-ban, the MFHA had a five-point-test - foxes, practical kennels, leadership, country and finance. If any Hunt fails one of those tests, they should consider their position. It is much better to have bigger packs, properly staffed, better supported and with less pressure on country. that has to be right.  The MFHA needs to counsel and encourage as strongly as we can. We can help to a considerable degree - but if hunting is to prosper, we have to have fewer packs."
That makes sense, but it is a sensitive issue about which people feel strongly....

POWAPerson adds:-  What Mr. Lambert's words suggest is that, contrary to the impressionLordBenjaminMancroft.jpg Hunts and their supporting organisations usually like to give, after eight years of the Hunting Act, with a significant number of them regularly monitored or sabbed, several having been convicted of illegal hunting, and with no realistic prospect of repeal in sight, many Hunts are beginning to struggle for support and adequate finance.
The H&H article also revealed that Lambert is to step down as MFHA Chair at next year's AGM and will be succeeded by Lord Benjamin Mancroft 
[right].  He is, unsurprisingly, an Old Etonian and a Conservative.  Mancroft is a former JM of the Vale of the White Horse FH, was Deputy Chair of the BFSS from '92-'97, became a Director of the Countryside Alliance at its formation and has been Vice-Chairman since 2005. He is also, reportedly, a former heroin and cocaine addict.  In 2008, according to the Daily Mail, he failed to endear himself to NHS staff, and angered his Party Leader, David Cameron, by accusing nurses in a hospital where he had been treated as being  'grubby... slipshod, lazy... drunken and promiscuous'.  Overall, his appointment as MFHA Chairman presumptive brings to mind the words 'bottom', 'scraping' and 'barrel.'

Cheshire Forest FH whipper-in charged with assaults and sex offences against 2 women

24-4-13  Knutsford Guardian   Sex assault case to be heard in June    AN Ollerton man accused of sex offences against two women will appear at Chester Crown Court this summer. Andrew James Callwood [below], 49, of Manor Farm, Seven Sisters Lane, appeared at Chester Crown on Monday for a preliminary hearing. He faces seven charges, five of beating and two of sexually assaulting women, who can't be named for legal reasons. He will appear at Chester Crown Court again on June 24 for a plea and case management hearing.


Artificial fox earth found in heart of Heythrop FH country

19-4-13    Mike Huskisson reports on Facebook that an investigator from the Animal Cruelty Investigation Group [ACIG] earlier this month found and photographed an artificial earth [below] close to the traditional Boxing Day meet site of the Prime Minister's favourite fox hunt at Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. 
POWAPerson adds:- Though it cannot be linked with certainty to the Heythrop, its presence in this location may be more than coincidental. The Heythrop FH itself, its former Huntsman and an ex-JM all pleaded guilty to two counts each of illegal hunting in December last year. 
Anti-hunt campaigners, including ACIG, have, over many years, repeatedly exposed the existence of these structures in numerous hunting countries, often close to kennels or well-known meet venues, clearly designed to accommodate foxes. Some are, or obviously have been, occupied by the animals and there has sometimes been evidence of their being fed there.  In 1998, the Sinnington FH in Yorkshire was caught up in a 
scandal when young fox cubs were found being kept in a cage in an artificial earth on land owned by the Hunt, following which a terrierman [possibly scapegoated] was sacked.  
Hunts have never been able to satisfactorily explain the presence of these structures evidently designed to house animals that they claim to be pests, usually just flatly denying any knowledge of them. 
In 2011, the League Against Cruel Sports released the results of an 
investigation conducted by them, in which many artificial earths, some clearly of recent construction, were found in numerous Hunt countries, with evidence of food and water being provided at some. LACS claimed that six of these were on land regularly hunted by the Heythrop. 


Old Berks FH woman rider fined for unprovoked attack on monitor
15-4-13   Account from victim    Gemma Margaret Brooking pleaded guilty to a charge of Assault by Beating at Oxford Magistrates Court on 11th April 2013.  On 15th December 2012 sab/monitor Colin Skilton attended the Old Berks Hunt which met at the Rose & Crown, Ashbury. As one of Colin Skilton's colleagues legally and peacefully filmed the hunt Brooking rode over to him on her horse and claimed he was filming her daughter, and told him to stop. He said he was filming the hunt. Her 12 year old daughter was with her. Brooking [below] rode her horse at the monitor. Her daughter was extremely distressed and kept shouting to her mother to stop.  Colin Skilton tried to help his colleague and slow the horse by putting up a hand to the horse's neck. Brooking lashed at him with her whip and bruised his arm. The monitors said they were calling the police, and the daughter became even more distressed.  Brooking was fined £100, compensation of £75, court costs £85.
POWA person adds: Video of the whole incident is here.  Ms. Brooking becomes the 324th person from an organised Hunt to be convicted or cautioned since 1990. 167 of the 464 recorded offences by these hunters have been violent ones. The Chairman of the Old Berks FH is Lord Astor, David Cameron's stepfather-in-law.

Three Cattistock FH supporters charged after monitors robbed of cameras

12-4-13  Victim report    Three Cattistock FH followers charged by police    Two, POWA Associate, monitors say that, at a meet during February, they were surrounded by a group of four young men. Their video cameras were wrenched away from them and the youths made off with them by car. Police were called and, later in the day, reported that they had apprehended the alleged culprits and recovered the cameras, though the memory card was missing from one. Three of the young men have now been charged: all three with public order offences, two with theft and one also with assault.  They have been bailed to appear in Court on April 29th.

Another RSPCA sett interference case against hunt terriermen fails

12-4-13 Daily Telegraph   RSPCA drop latest case against a hunt - this time involving 79-year-old    The RSPCA has been accused of wasting thousands of pounds of taxpayers money and ‘stealing’ an old man’s dog after its latest case involving a hunt collapsed. The charity accused 79-year-old Brian Nuttall and Justin Schofield, 42, of disturbing a badger sett while out with the Cheshire Forest Hunt.  The terriers of both men were confiscated for ten months and a seven-year-old Patterdale bitch named Topic owned by Mr Nuttall has not been returned.
However the case has been dropped after the RSPCA offered "no evidence" at a hearing in Chester Magistrates' court. Because it was a public prosecution, the defendants' cost of up to £10,0000 will be paid for by the taxpayer. The trial ended in a similar way to a case in February where the RSPCA had to drop accusations of interfering with a badger sett against an 18-year-old girl and her family.
Campaigners said the case is the latest example of the RSPCA using the Badger Act as a "back door" way to get to hunts. Although it is illegal to hunt with dogs, it is legal to chase a fox out of a hole with a dog and then shoot the fox. Mr Nuttall and Mr Schofield had been given permission to carry out this "terrier work" in March last year while the Cheshire Forest Hunt was active. The pair claim they investigated rabbit holes with the terriers but found no evidence of foxes. A few days later their homes were raided and five dogs taken. Mr Nuttall said that his dog, Topic, went missing on the day of the hunt and he has only recently learned that it was taken by the RSPCA. He said he was not informed the dog was in kennels for months, despite putting up notices and a number of people asking if she had been seen. The retired gamekeeper said: "Of course I missed my dog. I did now know where she was." 
Yesterday a spokesman for the RSPCA said that if Mr Nuttal can prove that he owns the dog he can have it back.
The RSPCA’s use of donation to pursue hunts has been questioned since the charity spent £330,000 to prosecute David Cameron’s local hunt the Heythrop. In February the Watson family, including Hannah Watson, 18, were cleared of interfering with a badger sett after carrying out terrier work with the Cheshire Hunt. There is an ongoing case involving the Avon Vale Hunt. Tim Bonner, Director of Campaigns at the Countryside Alliance, said the RSPCA cost the tax payer even more money to pursue Mr. Nuttal. "Defence costs of nearly £10,000 will be paid by the taxpayer as will the costs of wasted court time. The tens of thousands of pounds the RSPCA have spent on the case, and the expense of keeping 5 dogs in kennels for many months, will be met from charitable donations," he said. "This is yet another example of the RSPCA abusing the criminal justice system to pursue its vendetta against members of the hunting community."
However the RSPCA stood by its decision to press charges after obtaining footage showing "two men digging in an area where there was known to be an active badger sett nearby". But in the end it proved impossible to prove where the digging had taken place.

Crawley & Horsham Huntsman fined for Criminal Damage to sab vehicle

11-4-13   HSA Press Release    Huntsman of Crawley & Horsham fox hunt admits NickBycroftCHHuntsmanabouttoattacksabvehicle3-11-12.jpgCriminal Damage    On the 3rd of November 2012 the huntsman of the financially troubled Crawley & Horsham fox hunt, Nick Bycroft [left], launched an unprovoked attack on a member of the Hunt Saboteurs Associations (HSA) Land Rover. In the video Huntsman Bycroft is seen, riding at speed down School Lane, near Shipley, Sussex in a reckless manner, with no care for the safety of other road users or his horse he forces his horse past the moving vehicle swearing repeatedly. Turning his horse he comes back to the now stationary vehicle and makes two attempts to smash the driver's side window, in an attempt to hit the driver. In the process he smashes the vehicle wing mirror[right].
Police at the scene made no arrest but Bycroft was latter summoned attend a police station where he admitted Public order offences (swearing) and Criminal damage. He was fined £150, none of which will be returned to the owner of the vehicle.
Lee Moon, press officer of the HSA stated: "Once more we have the Crawley &SabwingmirrorsamashedbyNickBycroftCHHuntsman3-11-12.bmp.jpg Horsham hunt found guilty of criminal activity. This time it is the paid huntsman who in a fury at just seeing people opposing his hunt launches a furious and unprovoked attack. The punishment is paltry and we can only hope that any future offences by this hunt are treated in a more serious fashion." The video of the attack can be viewed here.
POWAPerson adds:  Nick Bycroft, having managed to avoid any criminal conviction to this point, now enjoys the same status as his brother Mark [Huntsman for the Old Surrey FH] and his father John [terrierman with the Fitzwilliam], who have both found themselves on the wrong side of the law in the past.  As, indeed, have many supporters, officials and staff of the C&H, who can't now be far off meriting their own special section in the Police National Computer! POWA has no fewer than 20 persons associated with this Hunt recorded as having been cautioned, convicted or given formal warnings by the police for a range of offences, all hunt related. In recording his first two convictions, Nick Bycroft becomes the 323rd hunter known to POWA to have been convicted or cautioned since 1990, committing at least 463 offences between them, and he is one of 42 official Huntsmen in the list. 

Weston and Banwell Harriers JM/Huntsman George Milton acquitted
He and Weston escape despite evidence of illegal hunting by hunters

9-4-13   Western Daily Press   Huntmaster not guilty of illegal activity    Magistrates found a huntsman and joint master accused of illegal hunting had no case to answer yesterday but ruled that: "without a shadow of a doubt" there was evidence that hunting had taken place. The Crown Prosecution Service brought the case against WestonBJMHuntsmanGeorgeMilton.JPGGeorge Milton [left], 54, Huntsman and Joint Master of Weston and Banwell Harriers.  Mr Milton was alleged to have committed an offence under Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004 following an incident near Cheddar when the Harriers were out on February 11 last year. But through his solicitor, Jamie Foster, he maintained that he was nowhere near the scene of the alleged hunting, but was riding his quad bike some distance away trying to call hounds together.
The sole prosecution witness was a former schoolmate of Mr Milton’s. Both were pupils at Porlock Village School. Graham Floyd, also aged 54, is sanctuaries and investigating officer for the League Against Cruel Sports. Mr Floyd monitored the Harriers from Nyland Hill and was sure that he identified Mr Milton through binoculars. But he accepted that even if the man he saw was Mr Milton, he last saw him with hounds some 25 minutes before hounds pursued a fox. Mr Floyd said he watched hounds and three people on quad bikes wearing the distinctive green jackets and white breeches of Harriers hunt servants move through fields before stopping near a rhyne. He knew that Mr Milton was the Harriers’ Huntsman and was looking out for him. Raising his binoculars he studied the man he believed had blown a horn and said:  "He had his back to me at the start and then he turned round, and it was like he was looking at the camera. I could see it was George Milton. When he turned he was also limping, it was something I was looking out for. He had a limp, a problem with his leg. I believe that was quite significant."
There were fox holes in the area and some men began digging with spades. Mr Milton had disappeared behind trees and the hounds, were moved some 200 yards away, also out of sight. After a while a fox bolted out. Mr Floyd said: "There was a whip with the hounds and obviously the hounds had been brought from 200 yards away. "The whip was walking the route of the fox with the hounds and they got the scent and screamed away." Hounds eventually lost the scent and the fox got away. Video shot by Mr Floyd showed the scene, but it was not possible to identify the men in hunt uniform.
Mr Foster submitted that there was no evidence that Mr Milton was there. Finding no case to answer Chairman of the Court Mrs Jenny Hoy said: "We determine that there was without a shadow of a doubt evidence of hunting. "What we are not convinced about is whether a jury or tribunal properly directed could convict on the evidence which we have seen and heard today."
Adrian Simpson for the Countryside Alliance said afterwards: "We are delighted and I don’t think Mr Milton should have been put through 12 months of anguish." Mr Foster said: "Mr Milton was clearly innocent from the outset and unfortunately it took these proceedings to show that was the case."
POWAPerson adds:  People will rightly wonder how it is that, given that the Magistrates found there was proof of illegal hunting, that the Weston were able to escape without any sanction. Clearly, it could not be adequately shown that Mr. Milton participated [and one feels for the poor chap's 'anguish'], but it seems some other hunt servants clearly did, though they could not be personally identified from the video.
This illustrates both what an incredibly difficult job monitors have and at least one of the manifest weaknesses of the Hunting Act. Maybe the corporate clause should specify that Masters are responsible for any illegal hunting by their Hunt, but clearly general strengthening of the Act is essential to better deter offenders and to make it easier to enforce.

York & Ainsty S. FH illegal hunting case dropped as sabs allege police complicity

6-4-13   Facebook - Sheffield Sabs    So North Yorkshire Police have dropped the case of illegal hunting against the York & Ainsty South Foxhounds, as the huntsman has lied and said their recent fox murder in front of sabs was an accident. Funny how he encouraged his hounds to run through thick crops just before they picked up on the fox, then didn't think to intervene when they hunted it round and round in circles for minutes, then sounded the horn to celebrate the kill, hid the fox's body, and rode past the police minutes after the kill without mentioning it isn't it?
It's also funny how Wildlife Crime Officer PC Sarah Ward who took on the case always seems to pop up in cases against sabs as well, and continues with those cases no matter how petty they are. It's also funny how she rides with the Badsworth & Bramham Moor Foxhounds, who kill foxes in breach of the Hunting Act week in week out. Just as the police have shown us the green card to fight back when we are assaulted (as they couldn't give a funk what hunt members do to us), they have affirmed our suspicion that there is no other way than confrontational hunt sabotage, as the law only works when they want it to.

MARCH 2013

..... 25th March -  Tedworth FH redcoat smashed sab windscreen next to driver, claim HSA

..... 23rd March - 'Racist abuse' JM/Huntsman claims dog killed, car damaged in mystery attack 

..... 22nd March - HSA says C&H FH breaking law again with unauthorised street collections

..... 22nd March - Rare conviction of anti-hunt activist, fined for abusing Surrey Union hunters

..... 21st March -  Paterson tells Country Life he strongly favours Hunting Act repeal

..... 18th March - Kent ex-JM, acquitted of attempted. murder, is jailed for firearms offence

..... 17th March - Essex & Suffolk FH followers commit two sustained assaults on sabs

..... 16th March - LACS confirms plans to deploy drone surveillance of suspect Hunts

..... 11th March - Attempt to gain public subsidy for hunting in Ulster is rebuffed

.....  8th March - BBC investigation exposes cruel, murky world of carted deer hunting in Ulster

.....  3rd March - School pupils anti fox hunting film wins Festival screening


Tedworth FH redcoat smashed sab windscreen next to driver, claim HSA

25-3-13   HSA Press Release   Criminal Damage on Saboteurs' vehicle by Red Coat of the Tedworth TedworthHuntDamagetosabWindscreen230313.jpgFoxhounds     On March 23rd, Hunt saboteurs from the Bristol and Bath groups were at The Fox public house, Tangley, on the Wiltshire/Hampshire border north of Andover, the meet of the the Tedworth Foxhounds.  During the days hunting the group's vehicles was blocked by riders as the hunt 'put-up' a fox with the Hounds close behind! Hunt saboteurs on foot managed to intervene by slowing the hound with voice and horn calls preventing the fox's death and the breaking of the Hunting Act.
The huntsman and whippers-in were on the scene, wearing the traditional red coats and, as one of them passed the group's Land Rover, he used his riding crop to smash the windscreen [left] only inches from the driver's face.  The driver later spoke to a Police officer from the Hampshire Police who refused to take any statement of the incident or interview any suspects on the scene. This is being followed up with Hampshire constabulary.
Lee Moon, Press officer of the Hunt Saboteurs Association stated;  "You would assume the Hampshire Police would be interested in any Criminal Damage reported, particularly with a group of people with a history of violence. It seems that when it comes to hunters Hampshire constabulary will turn a blind eye to illegal hunting and any other illegal actions taken to protect their activities. We would in interested in a comment from the Hampshire Chief inspector regarding his officers lack of action to this incident."

Huntsman convicted of racist abuse claims pet dog killed in mystery attack
One or more vehicles also allegedly vandalised at Hunt kennels
Ross Harriers source implies animal rights activists responsible, as police investigate
23-3-13  Western Daily Press    Police investigate after dog killed in attack on hunt kennels    POLICE are investigating a ‘disturbing' attack on a hunt kennels in which a dog was apparently ‘beaten to death' and left on the hunt master's drive and vehicles vandalised. Detectives are understood to be taking the incident ‘very seriously', because it happened at the base of the Ross Harriers hunt on the Herefordshire-Gloucestershire border, and is close to the area designated for this year's controversial badger cull.
Officers said they were called to an address at which the Ross Harriers are based in Coughton, a small hamlet between Ross-on-Wye and the Gloucestershire border in the Forest of Dean, earlier this week to reports of an attack from animal rights activists.  A spokesman for West Mercia police said the reports were that a 4x4-type vehicle had been vandalised some time between last Friday and Monday.  "It is also believed that a dog belonging to the victim, which was on the property at the time, was killed during the incident," said the police spokesman.  "However, it has not yet been established exactly how the animal died and officers are awaiting a report from a vet. Inquiries are ongoing at this time."
The Harriers' hunt master, who lives near the kennels' is Lee Peters [right]. He said itRossHarriersJMLeePetersatCourtfacingracialabusecharge.jpg was his vehicle and pet dog attacked.  "I don't want to say too much about it, because obviously there's a police investigation going on," he said.  "But there was a dog killed and it was left on my driveway, and it obviously did not die of natural causes. I've got a young family, and this is particularly worrying."
Last November, Mr Peters was fined £720 by magistrates in Hereford and ordered to pay £200 compensation to a hunt saboteur he was found guilty of racially abusing during a confrontation at a meet at Aston Crew last January.  A source close to the Ross Harriers hunt, who declined to be named, said while they were still waiting for the vet's report into the cause of death of the dog, which was not believed to be one of the Harriers' hounds, it appeared the dog had been beaten to death.  "This was not a very pleasant incident at all; the letters ‘ALF' were scratched into the vehicles there and the dog was dead on the drive," he said.
The Animal Liberation Front is a hardcore shadowy group of animal rights activists who target everything from animal-testing laboratories to factory farms. "The police are taking it extremely seriously, obviously because it is serious anyway, but also because these are the same sorts of people threatening all sorts with the badger cull in this area. The police are looking seriously at the activities of the animal rights activists, and a lot of people are worried," he added.
A spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, which regularly targets hunts in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, said his organisation and his activists had ‘nothing whatsoever' to do with the action. "We simply do not engage in or condone criminal damage or any attacks on animals," he said. "We engage in legal disruption of illegal hunting and we had nothing to do with this whatsoever. It doesn't sound like the sort of thing the ALF would do either, killing a dog. They have been known to steal an entire pack of hounds, but they wouldn't harm one."

The story was covered by the Mail on 24-3-13, with the provocative headline 'Did animal rights activists beat dog to death and leave its body on Hunt Master's drive?', but without adding anything substantive to the WDP report above. Meanwhile the Hereford Heckler provided a more sceptical view of the reported incident.

HSA accuses Crawley & Horsham FH of conducting illegal street collections

22-3-13   HSA website    The Crawley & Horsham Fox hunt have once again been caught breaking the law    This time, in their desperation to keep their financially ailing hunt going, they have taken to street collections, but without the gaining the proper authority.  Horsham District Council have issued a warning to the hunt that it is illegal to collect in their district without the correct permission.
The Crawley & Horsham hunt officials and its wider supporters are known for their propensity to ignore the rule of law and have been frequently in court for acts of violence and, of course, breaking the Hunting Act.
Lee Moon of the Hunt Saboteurs Association stated: "This hunt continues to ignore the law; its members think they are above the normal restrictions of civilised society and continue to act as if they cannot be touched. Our members will ensure they are kept under observation to ensure that any of their illegal activities are reported to the correct authorities and appropriate action taken".

Rare conviction of anti-hunt activist, fined for abusing Surrey Union hunters
22-3-13  This is Surrey    Fine for Oxted anti-hunting activist Nick Maffia    Surrey Union Hunt staff and supporters were subjected to a tirade of foul language and abuse by hunt saboteurs after they returned from taking their hounds out on exercise, a court has heard.   Anti-hunting activist Nick Maffia of Tally Road, Oxted, pleaded guilty to the charge of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress, which took place at the hunt kennels in Ockley, Surrey, early on August 16 last year.
The incident was one of a number of times Maffia had been seen close to the hunt kennels. Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance said: "This was completely unacceptable behaviour. Mr Maffia and others were close to homes and children and were using frankly disgusting language towards hunt staff. "We are pleased that Mr Maffia owned up to his despicable actions but are sorry it took so many months of wasting the police and courts' time for him to do so."
POWAPerson felt honour bound to report this conviction, but, whilst not condoning such behaviour, must emphasise that it is very uncommon for a anti-hunt activist to be prosecuted for any offence against hunters - despite continuous, unevidenced accusations being made against them. Hunts have, for some time, been almost as well-stocked with cameras as are sabs and monitors, and many Hunts even depute one or two people to follow them around on hunting days and film them [and, it appears, some also to obstruct, harass or even assault them]. Despite this, Hunts are almost never able to back up their wild accusations against sabs and monitors.
Evidence of abuse, harassment, obstruction, threats and physical violence against sabs and monitors by hunters is, however, legion. It is scattered all over YouTube and convictions or cautions are frequent, though they represent only a tiny fraction of such incidents. Indeed, these are commonplace, though monitors and sabs often find it hard to get police to act on their evidence.  Indeed, were every instance of hunter abuse [or worse] of antis to be prosecuted the Courts would probably have to sit 24/7 .
Notwithstanding the inherent difficulties antis often face in getting offending hunters to Court, POWA records show 321 separate hunters or supporters receiving criminal sanctions for 460 offences since 1990, a large proportion of which have been against antis. 166 of these have been violent offences, 127 of those against antis. There have also been 52 Public Order offences and 41 instances of criminal damage, most with antis as victims. Hunters have received no fewer than 28 custodial sentences in the period. Just over half the recorded offences were committed by officers or other staff of Hunts, including 50 by Masters and 54 by Huntsmen or Whippers-In.
The Surrey Union itself scarcely appears to have an unblemished record:-
According to the HSA, on 11-8-12 an SU rider tried repeatedly to ride down a female sab, then threatened to kill her. They say that, despite the incident being filmed and witnessed by members of the public, no arrest followed.
On 28-12-11, sabs reported that a supporter attempted to ram their Landy, fired a catapult and verbally abused them, and was arrested and charged with motoring offeces after he refused to stop for police. POWA has no record of any ensuing conviction or caution. Sabs also said hunt terriermen later attacked them and that they were passing film of this to police.
Two days earlier, sabs had reported their Landy being rammed by a supporter, who later fired a catapult at them, just missing the driver. Again police arrested the driver and video was supplied by sabs.
On 28-11-11, sabs reported that arrests were expected after '
 Our female sabs were pushed around by hunt supporters, one redcoat stole one of our cameras and threw it into some bushes, then one of our male sabs was ridden down, head-butted and punched in the face.'
On 29-1-05, Surrey Union whipper-in, Andrew Hazletine, and groom Jocelyn Cleveland, while hunting with the Crawley & Horsham attacked a sab driver. The former assaulted him while the latter stole the van keys. Both were cautioned.
On 4-1-05, the HSA claims that SU supporters attacked sabs and stole equipment. One sab had a broken rib, the other facial injuries.
On 1-2-03, the HSA claimed a sab suffered a broken cheekbone in an attack by hunt supporters.
On 12-11-02, the HSA says all three sabs out that day were threatened and assaulted by SU supporters and had equipment stolen.
In the mid '90s, supporter Gary Moore attacked sabs outside a pub and was heavily fined for Assault and Affray.
In 1995, the HSA states that supporter Noel Cahill was arrested after an attack on sabs left one hospitalised, and the police found a death threat ready to be posted to an HSA officer at Cahill's home.
In the early '90s,a JM, John Funnell, was given a suspended sentence for riding down a sab, causing a serious head wound.

Paterson tells Country Life he strongly favours Hunting Act repeal

21-3-13  Daily Express    Bring back fox-hunting: Owen Paterson reopens row over controversial 'sport'     ENVIRONMENT Secretary Owen Paterson OwenPatersonMP.jpg yesterday reopened the fox-hunting row by calling for the ban to be repealed. He told the country set's bible Country Life that no-one wants to see the Hunting Act repealed more than him. But the League Against Cruel Sports immediately vowed to fight any attempt to legalise foxhunting again.
Mr Paterson, a Shropshire MP whose interests include horses, used to ride to hounds himself. He no longer hunts but two years ago he and his wife Rose rode across Mongolia. His family shares his love of horses - last year his daughter was a junior member of the UK Eventing team. Mr Paterson told Country Life that his vision for the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs is to grow the rural economy in line with environmental offsets, to improve and re-balance the environment. He added: "No one is more keen than me to see the Hunting Act repealed because I believe in the management of wildlife."  The Coalition promised a free vote on overturning the Hunting Act when parliamentary time allows. But sources say a vote is unlikely in the near future, partly because there is little prospect of it being successful.
JoeDuckworthLACS.jpgThe chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports Joe Duckworth [left], said public opinion was set firm against a return to hunting with hounds. He said: "Most parliamentarians and the vast majority of people in this country disagree with Owen Paterson and do not want to see the Hunting Act repealed. In addition, it is a complete fallacy that hunting with dogs in any way manages wildlife. It doesn't. It is a barbaric activity, masquerading as sport, that has no place in modern civilised society and the League will continue to do everything we can to protect both the Act and the wild animals it seeks to preserve."
Since coming into office Mr Paterson has also ordered a cull of badgers in a bid to halt the spread of TB in cattle. He is pressing ahead despite a Government-funded study showing that culling could make bovine TB worse. Mr Paterson is backing the cull even though he once had a pet badger.

Ex-JM of Ashford Valley FH is jailed for possessing gun without a licence

18-3-13  BBC News Online    Kent huntsman Brian Fraser jailed for gun offences    Ex-master of the Ashford Valley Hunt Brian Fraser, 63, had earlier been cleared of theBrianFraserexAshfordValleyFHJMjailedforfirearmsoffence.jpg attempted murder of his former lover Louise Leggatt. Fraser, of Criol Lane, Shadoxhurst, was also cleared of grievous bodily harm at Maidstone Crown Court in February. Mrs Leggatt suffered leg injuries when she was shot on 15 March 2012. She was attacked when she went to tend her horses at Apple Pie Farm in Benenden.
The court heard police had found an old, single-barrelled shotgun hidden between two hay bales on Fraser's land, along with some cartridges. He initially said he had not owned a shotgun for 20 years, but when officers disclosed that one had been found on his land he suggested he was being framed. But later he admitted he did own the gun, telling officers it had been handed down to him by his father.  After the trial, Judge Charles Byers said: "I have never come across such a lackadaisical and irresponsible attitude to firearms, particularly from someone described as a countryman."
Essex & Suffolk FH followers commit two sustained assaults on sabs
Attacks and digging into badger sett ignored by police says HSA

17-3-13   HSA Press Release    Planned attacks on saboteurs by Essex & Suffolk hunt supporters     On Saturday 16th of March, as part of a clearly planned attack saboteurs from the Essex and Suffolk group were attacked. Using sticks tipped with metal supporters of the hunt assaulted and beat the saboteurs aiming in particular for EssexSuffolkFH16-3-13Sabinjuredinattack.jpgthe person carrying the video camera, smashing it beyond use. Saboteurs were also kicked and punched in the head in the sustained attacked.
Following this incident the hunt chased a fox to earth into a badger sett and proceeded to dig into the sett in breach of both the Protection of badgers act 1993 and the Hunting act 2004. Saboteurs on the scene were again attacked with spades and multiple assaults were committed, resulting in many injuries such as pictured. Essex police responded to a 999 call with four vehicles and a helicopter and acted on the clearly visible injuries by arresting a saboteur for breach of the peace, although no charges were pressed. On request for action to their assaults they were told by police in attendance to report them to a police station later.
Lee Moon of the hunt Saboteurs Association stated:- "Faced with a clear breach of animal welfare law and numerous assaults to hunt saboteurs, Essex police responded by blaming the victims and ignoring the crimes against wildlife. They seem to be acting in the time honoured stance of turning a blind eye to hunt violence and animal cruelty. It’s about time Essex police started realising that times have changed and the public expects these criminal acts to be treated the same as if they were in the high street on Saturday." 

4.4.13   Essex Chronicle   Members of the Hunt Saboteurs Association make assault claims     PROTESTERS attempting to film a fox hunt claim they were attacked with sticks, kicked in the head, and had their camera equipment destroyed. James Kapteanoc, 54, a veteran member of the Hunt Saboteurs Association, says he and two others were subjected to an attack on March 16 as they tried to film activities by members of the Essex and Suffolk Hunt. 
"I was punched and beaten by three people who knocked me to the ground, while our cameraman was hit with a heavy metal handled cane from behind," claimed Mr Kapteanoc. "He was in so much pain that he had to pass over the equipment but they started jumping on that person's hand to force its release. The worst thing is that our camera is smashed, destroying all the evidence," added Mr Kapteanoc, who has been campaigning with the HSA for a decade. The saboteurs claim that the initial attack occurred on a public footpath at Breton Heath, near Tiptree. Mr Kapteanoc, a full-time carer, was left with bruises to his ribs and legs, he says. The group also allege that just a short while later an attempt to intervene on a private estate as members dug out a badger sett, where a fox had sought refuge, led to further attacks. "People tried to force the group off the land using spades and walking sticks as weapons," claimed Mr Kapteanoc. "We're at the coal-face of those in opposition to the hunt by going out into the field. We're not afraid to intervene if an animal is in danger. But as a result of that we provoke a lot of hostility and that's the risk."
However, James Buckle, a senior master with the Essex and Suffolk Hunt, strongly denies that any of its members had anything to do with an assault. "If this involved anybody associated with the hunt then I would be absolutely furious but I'm certain that is not the case," he told the Chronicle. "I was told by the landowner on the day that things got quite heated and confrontational as the people filming refused to leave their land but this didn't involve people in our group. It is also completely out of the question that anyone was attempting to dig out a badger sett. If I was aware of that I would have reported it to the police myself," added Mr Buckle. Police were called to the scene but as yet no action has been taken, although the HSA protesters say this is typical.

POWAPerson adds:-   Essex police apparently continuing their tradition of siding with hunt lawbreakers. Last season this same Hunt's hounds invaded a garden en masse and caught a fox, which the whip then proceeded to beat to death on the patio of a shocked family who were there enjoying a barbecue. Not only did Essex police blithely accept the Hunt's claim that the chase was an 'accident' they failed to press any charges against the Whip, when he appeared to have committed a range of other offences.

LACS confirms drone surveillance plan for Hunts and other wildlife abusers
16-3-13   LACS Press Release    Charity looks to new and innovative technology to stay one step ahead of illegal hunters and wildlife criminals     Leading anti-hunting charity, the League Against Cruel Sports has announced plans to deploy surveillance drones (UAV's) to aid its efforts in protecting Great British wildlife from cruel criminals. Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive at the League Against Cruel Sports, explains: "There is a war in the countryside and whilst there are still individuals determined to flout the law and seek new ways to avoid detection, the League will continue to explore safe, tested and innovative technology to further our charitable aim of ending cruelty to animals in the name of sport."
Drone deployment is deemed a necessary tactic by the charity to help catch and bringDrone.jpg hunts, gangs and individuals illegally hunting and committing other wildlife crimes such as hare coursing and badger baiting, to justice. The option of drone deployment will further enhance the charity's already successful tactics by providing support to the teams operating on the ground gathering intelligence and evidence of illegal activity. The League uses comprehensive intelligence to ensure all operations are proportionate, necessary and justified. Investigations are only carried out where the charity knows there is a strong possibility of cruel criminality taking place.
Partnering with non profit aerial surveillance and monitoring organisation, ShadowView, the League is the first animal welfare charity in Great Britain to explore the innovative technology. Drones have already been used by the USPCA in Northern Ireland to deter badger baiters, and by the WWF in operations against poachers in Africa. Joe Duckworth concludes: "We are excited to be the first animal welfare charity in Great Britain to be exploring drone technology. We are confident that it will make a fantastic contribution to bringing wildlife criminals to justice."
See Joe Duckworth and Steve Roest of ShadowView talking about drone surveillance here. 

16-3-13   Daily Mail    Animal welfare charity is to use DRONES to spy on people illegally hunting... A leading animal welfare charity is to use surveillance drones to cDronesvsfoxhunters.JPGatch people illegally hunting. The League Against Cruel Sports will use cameras mounted on remote-controlled aircraft to monitor land previously off-limits.  The charity said it was targeting people hunting illegally, hare coursing, badger baiting and other wildlife crimes. The charity will use cameras mounted on remote-controlled aircraft to monitor land previously off-limits....
Tim Bonner, of the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, said the League Against Cruel Sports was becoming 'increasingly desperate' and was living in 'cloud cuckoo land'. 'We think this is completely impractical and the League Against Cruel Sports has spent the last three years talking about the investment in what it calls "surveillance",' he said. 'They haven't had a single conviction under the Hunting Act of a hunt as a result of their activities in the last three hunting seasons. We think they are increasingly desperate. The idea that flying a drone over a hunt is suddenly going to lead to convictions [...] They are living in cloud cuckoo land. The fact is that the law is unworkable and in our view a ridiculous piece of legislation. The chance of multiple prosecutions of hunts are very, very limited.' Mr Bonner said there were also civil liberty questions to answer on drones flying over private property filming. 'There are some really quite profound arguments going on about whether a non-Governmental organisation should be able to carry out these sort of activities without proper scrutiny,' he said. 'If this was a serious attempt to bring hunts to court we would have expected to have heard about it in the courts and from lawyers - and not in the newspapers. They are increasingly desperate and when you look at the effort organisations like the League Against Cruel Sports put on using the legislation, we consistently beat them in the courts*. There have been a handful of hunts prosecuted in the last eight years. There are nearly 300 hunts in the country and between 20,000 to 25,000 individual hunting days each season, and from that you are seeing a tiny number of prosecutions - most of which fail.'

POWAPerson comments;-  Mr. Bonner seems to struggle with truth-telling. In fact, the majority of prosecutions brought against organised Hunts in recent years have been successful. Hunts are clearly very worried about this innovative form of surveillance of their illegal activities and one can expect legal challenges to drone use. The police have said they will treat any evidence produced by legitimate drone use in the same way as CCTV footage.
This story was widely covered in the media, including the Western Morning News , Western Daily Press and BBC News Online.

Attempt to gain public subsidy for hunting in Ulster is rebuffed

11-3-13   Belfast News Letter   Minister rules out backing hunting    A Stormont minister has ruled out providing financial backing to the hunting community after being urged to reconsider her department’s position on so-called country sports. Culture, Arts and Leisure minister Caral Ni Chuilin [left] told the Assembly she personally did not CaralNiChuilinN.IrelandAssembly.jpgsupport hunting or recognise it as a sport. The Sinn Fein representative said her position was also backed by the official departmental definition of sports. She said activities traditionally termed "country sports" - such as hunting, including that on horseback, and the shooting of live quarry - were not supported by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. But the minister said other forms of shooting, such as clay pigeon, equestrian pursuits and angling were covered by her department and had been provided more than £800,000 in support in the last three years.
During Assembly question time, the DUP’s Lord Morrow had urged the minister to reconsider the definition of country sports. "I wonder would she give some thought to looking again at the definition of country sports and is she aware that shooting on its own generates some 2,100 full time jobs and it also generates some £45 million per year?" said the Fermanagh and South Tyrone member. "I think that merits some consideration and I would ask the minister to take a look at this again because I think it is one of those areas that has been neglected and is being neglected."  The minister said she would look again at activities that did not include hunting.


The Hunting Act 2004 did not apply to the Province and hunting live quarry is still legal, though hare coursing is banned. Legislation on this topic is now a matter for the N.Ireland Assembly.

Investigation exposes murky world of 'carted' deer hunting in Ulster

'Carted' deer hunting has long been the traditional form of that 'sport' in the Province.  Captive, de-antlered, deer are released into the wild and chased by hounds and riders. The aim is not to kill the deer, though this may happen, but to re-capture it for hunting again.  Arguably, the practice has been rendered illegal by the Animal Welfare Act [N.I.] 2011, which is very similar to our AW Act 2006.  Which is why the hunter quoted below was keen to deny they were hunting a 'carted' deer, insisting it was a wild one. Because our Hunting Act 2004 does not apply in Ulster, this would, alas, still be allowed.

BBC News Online    BBC Newsline investigates deer carting issue    The animal lay silently in the darkness of the trailer, its eyes burning red in the viewfinder of the men's night-vision camera. It seemed unperturbed by their presence, familiar with human attention.  
The two men knew the farm complex well. They had been here many times. They knew that deer were kept here in pens, fed, watered, cared for. They finished filming the animal, almost silently closed the trailer's hatch, and slipped away into the night. They would see this animal again - soon.
CarteddeerinUlster3-13.JPGFor some time, the USPCA had believed deer from the farm complex, near Hillsborough, were being 'carted' to be used in hunts. 'Carting' is when captive animals are moved by trailer to a location then released to be hunted. When BBC Newsline learned that a hunt was to be held last Thursday, the charity decided to mount a surveillance operation at the farm. On Wednesday evening, they watched as a deer was loaded into a trailer. On Thursday morning, they followed the trailer to a location close to Katesbridge.  Nearby, the County Down hunt was saddling up and moving out. All day, the animal remained in the trailer. People approached it, but it was not released. That night, it was moved into a shed at the same location. There it remained for four days [left].
On Tuesday, once again, BBC Newsline had learned a hunt was to take place, once again it was to be in the Katesbridge area. The USPCA were still watching the deer. Around half a mile away, the hunt began to assemble. As the time for the riders to set off drew nearer, the activity intensified around the deer's shed. A fence was erected to guide the animal out and a mounted rider wearing hunt livery circled nearby. Almost simultaneously with the hunt setting off, the deer was finally released. The lone rider pursued it up a nearby hill. Within six minutes, the rest of the hunt came galloping past the shed before following the deer's trail up the hill.CountyDownSHMasterconfrontedbBBCReporterovercarteddeerhunt3-13.JPG Throughout the afternoon, we followed the hunt. Often, we found ourselves among its followers and supporters. At times, I could have reached out to touch the horses. But we couldn't film anything without risking giving away our presence.
As afternoon began to slide towards evening, it was clear the hunt was winding down. It appeared the deer had got away. I decided to approach some of those taking part. Most of the riders wore black jackets, three wore red. I had been told these were the people I needed to speak to, the masters. The first rider decided not to speak to me but, instead, to urge his walking horse into a gentle trot - away from me. The second huntsman was willing to talk [right].  He insisted they only ever hunted "outliers", a common term in hunting circles for deer living in the wild. I told him what we had witnessed, but he again insisted they only ever hunted "outliers".
So, had we witnessed a criminal act? Well, the USPCA believes we had, the department of agriculture suspects we had, the courts have yet to decide. The law says it is an offence to hunt a protected animal. It also says any animal under the control of man, permanently or temporarily, is a protected animal. This deer was clearly under the control of man, and so a protected animal, up until the point of its release. The legal question though is whether or not that status still applied after its release. The legislation involved is the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) which was updated in 2011.  
So far, that act has not been tested in court in relation to 'carting'.
Footage of the 'carted' deer in captivity, its release, the subsequent hunt and of reporter Gordon Adair confronting one of the Hunt masters can be seen here.

Mill Hill school pupils anti fox hunting film wins Festival screening

3-3-13  Hendon etc. Times    Film festival feat for young movie-makers from StSchoolanti-huntfilmmakers3-13.jpg Vincent's Primary School, Mill Hill     A class of budding young movie-makers [right] will experience life on the red carpet after their film on fox hunting was shortlisted for a festival award. Pupils from St Vincent’s Primary School, in The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, put together a short film opposing what they described as the bullying nature of the now-banned rural sport.  The five-minute short highlights the hypocrisy of those who would encourage fox hunting but criticise young people for picking on someone in the school playground.  Year Six pupil Kulani Wijenayake came up with the premise to the story, which has now been shortlisted for an award at the St Albans Film Festival. The ten-year-old said: "I was amazed because I have never done anything like this before. I really enjoyed seeing everyone in the class get involved and act it out. It is an important subject to me and I’m hoping it will spread a message that will make people think differently about foxes."
All the Year Six pupils had a hand in producing the video – whether it was acting in scenes, creating drawings or helping with the filming. The school regularly lets pupils create films in their ICT classes but this year is the first time they have entered the film festival awards.  Class teacher Aaron Doherty said: "It feels like we have already won by the fact it has been shortlisted. "The movie-making gets them really involved in subjects and it’s often interesting because it is so different to what they normally do." The festival will be held at St Peter’s School in St Albans from Friday March 8, and Sunday March 10, with the school’s film being screened on the Saturday. Kulani added: "I feel very happy and proud about what we have achieved - we’re all really looking forward to it."


..... 27th February - Parliamentary answer reveals tiny % of HA prosecutions against organised Hunts 

..... 27th February - Dyfed-Powys police identify pack responsible for A40 fox killing

..... 20th February - RSPCA badger sett case against Cheshire FH members fails

..... 18th February - Gruesome LACS pre-ban video shows why Hunting Act must stay

..... 16th February - Hounds savage fox to death on main road in Carmarthenshire

..... 14th February - Ashford Valley FH JM acquitted of attempted murder, GBH charges

..... 13th February - Fiona Vigar, Cattistock JM, dies after hunting accident

..... 13th February - North Yorks fox hunt causes alarm by hunting next to primary school  

..... 13th February - Labour MP attacks Government over 'tacit support' of hunt law-breaking

.....  7th February - Cattistock FH Field Master critically ill after hunting accident

.....  5th February - Benighted Heythrop FH suspends hunting after equine herpes outbreak

.....  4th February - Avon Vale FH 'Gang of Five' trial to start on May 6th

.....  3rd February - RSPCA vigorously defends and explains its Heythrop prosecution


Parliamentary answer reveals tiny % of HA prosecutions against Hunts

27-3-13   Angela Smith, the strongly anti-hunt Labour MP, today requested detailed figures for prosecutions brought under the Hunting Act 2004 for each year since its inception.  The answer from a Government spokesman revealed there have been a total of 330, 38 of which concerned hare coursing events. 
The vast majority of these prosecutions have been brought by the police/CPS but, as we know, only a tiny number of these have been against organised Hunts. Such prosecutions often have to brought by LACS or the RSPCA.
The figures given did not give any indication of conviction rates. The detail can be found 

Welsh  A40 fox killer pack identified by police - investigation continues
Carmarthenshire FH JM bemoans proliferation of 'rogue' foot packs

27.2.13 Carmarthen Journal  Fox attack: Dogs belong to foot hunt     INVESTIGATORS say they have identified the hunt which owns the pack of hounds that appeared to rip apart a fox on a busy Carmarthen road earlier this month. Dyfed-Powys Police and the RSPCA are now working on a joint investigation into the incidentCarmarthenshirehoundskillfoxonA40.jpg on the A40 near Abergwili on Saturday, February 16.  Witnesses travelling on a bus described how they watched in horror as dogs caught the fox [right].
RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said the hounds belonged to a foot hunt, but he would not say which one. We have taken many statements," he said. "We have identified the hunt and the hunt master. It is a joint investigation between the police and the RSPCA."
Last week witnesses told the Journal how the dogs came down from the wooded area above the busy road. One witness.... reported the incident to the League Against Cruel Sports Wildlife Crimewatch line and said: "I was on the 280 bus from Carmarthen to Llandeilo. "At around 10.30am the bus came to an abrupt halt half a mile after the roundabout after Abergwili. I saw a pack of what seemed like hunting dogs bounding down from the wooded hill on to the road where there was oncoming traffic. The dogs seemed to be attacking and surrounding something that was covering them in blood and then I could just make out the shape of the fox. I could see the pack as clear as day on the other side of the road, and the attack happened for at least five minutes." …
Police Inspector Craig Templeton said: "We are conducting an inquiry into the incident and have been in touch with colleagues in the RSPCA who are assisting us. While we are not making a further appeal for more witnesses we will of course listen to any information brought to us."

28-2-13   Horse & Hound   Rebel packs give us a bad name, says Master    ... Carmarthenshire hunt master Mike Watts said... 'We believe it was a rebel or a gun pack. There are a couple in the area and they are causing us a lot of trouble. It's a growing problem..." ....   Registered packs are regulated by the MFHA, but unregistered packs are accountable.    A 2003 Welsh Assembly report on pre-ban hunting put the number of unregistered packs at three times the number of registered packs, of which there were 56.  The MFHA said it did not wish to comment on the issue at this stage.
POWAperson says:  Monitoring footage suggesting how well 'regulated' the Carmarthenshire and other S.W.Wales hunts really are can be seen at  Truth to tell, we've never been able to detect any real effective disciplinary or even moderating effects of the MFHA's supposed oversight of registered Hunts anywhere. Clearly it will be harder for police or antis to check on the activities of unregistered packs - and the large number Mr. Watts thinks exist is alarming - but it's hard to believe the hunted animals notice much difference.

RSPCA badger sett case against Cheshire FH members fails

20-2-13  Daily Mail    RSPCA accused of wasting £13,500 of taxpayers' cash and donations after 'flawed' case against family accused of disturbing a badger sett during hunt collapses....   Farmer Keith Watson used a terrier to legally flush out a fox last year, before he and his family were then accused of disturbing a badger sett by the charity.  A police raid on their farm followed, with equipment seized, while Mr Watson, his partner Tanya Norlander, and his teenage daughter Hannah Watson were separated and taken for hour-long interviews at a local police station.  For a year the family has lived under 'extreme stress' and Hannah now 19, was left 'unable to sleep' or study for her A-levels....
But yesterday the case against them collapsed on the first morning at Crewe Magistrates' Court after the RSPCA admitted they did not have enough evidence against them to continue.... Mr Watson claims animal activists had 'hidden behind bushes' to secretly film the activity at a fox's earth - the evidence the later used to try and prosecute him.  He maintains the area was not being used by badgers and that his family was targeted for doing nothing wrong in an effort to stop the hunt.  'It is a nightmare when you know you are not guilty and you have done nothing wrong but you are being picked on to make an example of,' he said. 'The RSPCA are not interested in animal welfare, they are just going after the hunting community. They do not have to pay the bills, it is the taxpayer.'  Hannah, who was eighteen at the time of the raid on her family's Cheshire farm in March last year called the behaviour 'intimidating.'...
Tim Bonner, Director of Campaigns at the Countryside Alliance, accused the animal charity of pursuing a 'vindictive campaign' against legal hunts based on 'weak and flawed' evidence.  'It is simply disgraceful that the RSPCA is using the criminal justice system to pursue a vindictive campaign against the hunting community,' he said. There is no way on earth that the police and CPS would have prosecuted on such flawed and weak evidence, but the RSPCA pursued Mr Watson and his family simply because they were part of the Cheshire Hunt.'  He added the RSPCA also have two other ongoing cases connected to hunts in the North West and Wiltshire, one of which also involves interfering with a badger sett.
The news comes as the Charities Commission questioned the RSPCA's use of its own funds to bring prosecutions after a judge criticised the charity for spending £326,000 prosecuting David Cameron's local hunt the Heythrop. The charity pointed out that the case against Mr Watson was reviewed against the Code for Crown Prosecutors and at all stages leading up to the trial, it had been considered appropriate to prosecute.  'The RSPCA believes that if it is presented with evidence of alleged offences concerning animal cruelty they should be properly investigated and prosecuted where appropriate,' a spokesman said. 'It is extremely rare that RSPCA cases conclude like this. We prosecute roughly 1 per cent of the incidents we are asked to investigate and have a success rate of around 98 per cent.'

Gruesome LACS pre-ban video shows why Hunting Act must stay

LACS Press Release    League releases shocking pre-ban film on eigth anniversary of Hunting Act   The League Against Cruel Sports is today releasing a new film to highlight the cruelty associated with hunting to coincide with the eight year anniversary of the historic Hunting Foxdug-outthrowntohoundsbyterriermanpre-ban.JPGAct 2004. In what the charity are calling ‘their most shocking film to date', 'Don't Turn the Clock back to Cruelty', shows the brutal reality of hunting with dogs before the passing of the Act on 18th February 2005. The leading anti-hunting charity, decided that it was time to release the film after the Secretary of State, Owen Patterson, made it clear that he and pro hunt MPs would be working behind the scenes to repeal the Act, to bring back hare coursing and fox, deer, mink and hare hunting, which were all banned by the Act.
Spilt into six main sections, the film depicts what happens in each of these activities, including how these wild animals are hunted, chased to exhaustion before being caught and how they are ragged to death by baying hounds.  In several parts of the film the viewer will witness the extreme determination by the hunts to get their trophy kill, Deersavagedbyhoundspre-ban.JPGincluding the digging up of foxes seeking refuge underground and hounds swimming after and surrounding an exhausted stag forced to enter a river in an attempt to escape. The film highlights the full extent of the cruelty behind hunting, also showing how hunt hounds and horses are victimised.
Joe Duckworth, the League Against Cruel Sports' Chief Executive explains: "There are no words strong enough to describe the bloodthirsty out and out cruelty exposed in this film. While we do not want to upset viewers, we feel it is important that the public see for themselves what turning the clock back to a time of legalised cruelty would lookHareastug-of-warropeinpre-bancoursing.JPG like."  The Hunting Act took over eighty years of campaigning by the League and other animal welfare organisations to secure.  Eight years on from the Act being passed and 237 prosecutions later, the League is today celebrating the success of the important piece of wildlife legislation by raising awareness of what would happen if the Act were to be repealed.
Joe Duckworth concludes: "Sadly, the Hunting Act has never been so at risk. The Secretary of State has openly voiced his determination to see these barbaric blood sports return. So, while we celebrate the Act's eighth anniversary, we are calling on the public and MPs alike to watch our film today so we can all remember why the Act is so vital. We must keep this cruelty history for good."
Some stills from the film:-
Above right, upper - Dug-out fox thrown to hounds by terrierman
Above left - Young male deer being savaged to death by hounds
Right - Hare ends as tug-of-war rope at coursing meet

Hounds savage fox to death on main road in Carmarthenshire
Passer-by in bus snaps the carnage in lay-by on the A40
One of the hounds reported to have been killed by car

19-2-13   Daily Mail    Horror of bus passengers as they see pack of hounds ripping fox to pieces by side of busy main road 'in breach of hunting ban'   - Bus passenger caught distressing images as hounds chased fox into road   - Dogs attacked the whimpering fox after running into road in West Wales   - Police are investigating the incident and studying CCTV from the bus  - Master of local hunt has denied responsibility, saying its foxhounds were 20 miles away
Shocked passengers on a bus watched in horror as a pack of hunting hounds ripped a terrified fox to bits on a busy main road [right]. The exhausted fox had been chased acrossCarmarthenshirehoundskillfoxonA40.jpg country when it ran onto the road - where the ten hounds pounced.  An outraged bus passenger used his mobile phone to take a picture of the grisly scene which he posted on Facebook. Onlookers had to put their hands over their ears as the ten baying hounds attacked the whimpering adult fox.
Police were today investigating the fox 'kill' on the A40 in the village of Abergwilli, near Carmarthen, West Wales. One of the hounds was also killed when it was hit by a car as it followed the fox onto the country road. The passenger said on Facebook: 'This morning on the A40 just coming out of Abergwili a group of hunting dogs came running down from the forest on the hill onto the busy road with a fox and started tearing it to pieces. One of the dogs was hit and killed by a car in the process and it was one the most horrible things to experience. If anybody knows who these dogs belong to and whether or not there was a hunt organised for this morning please contact the police. These people need to be sent down.' The photograph was posted anonymously to the Spotted Carmarthen Facebook group. Police investigating the incident are studying CCTV from a security camera mounted on the front of the bus.
The local Carmarthenshire Hunt yesterday denied responsibility saying its pack of foxhounds were 20 miles away at the time. Joint Carmarthenshire Hunt Master Martin Walters said: 'Our hounds were 20 miles away in the village of Pendine when this happened. 'We are a registered pack and we are regularly monitored. In fact we were being monitored by the National Trust on Saturday when this happened.' Mr Walters said unlicensed hunting with foxhounds was going on in the area. He said: 'There are so many rebel packs at the moment - it's getting ridiculous. These hounds could have come in from anywhere by people hunting on foot having a day out in the area.'  Joint huntmaster Lee Facey said: 'The Carmarthenshire Hunt was at a meet in Pendine, accompanied by animal rights campaigners and a police officer. 'No hunt would plan to take their hounds onto a road like that. I imagine that whoever was involved would have been operating within the law but that the dogs had gone off in what has ended up in this unfortunate incident. Obviously we realise it doesn't look good but I am sure whoever is involved in this would be full of remorse.'
The Hunting Act 2004 made hunting with dogs a criminal offence, although exercising hounds, chasing a scent trail and flushing out foxes to be shot are all still legal. But animal rights campaigners claim loopholes in the law are continually being exploited. A spokeswoman for The League Against Cruel Sports said: 'Wales and the Welsh borders are hotspots for this type of reckless behaviour. Reported incidences of hunt havoc and so called accidents indicate that some hunts in that area are going out intentionally to hunt wild mammals with dogs.'
A Dyfed-Powys Police spokeswoman said: 'We are investigating an incident which happened on the A40 shortly after 10.30am Saturday, February 16. 'As part of the investigation officers have been speaking with witnesses and members of the hunt to establish what happened. These inquiries are ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this point.'
The incident was also reported by Wales Online This is South Wales Daily Telegraph and others

Ashford Valley FH JM acquitted of attempted murder, GBH charges
Could still be jailed for illegal possession of firearm

14-2-13   Daily Mirror    Married huntmaster cleared of shooting ex-lover but could still be jailed for lack of firearm licence    A married Hunt Master was cleared yesterday of shooting his show-jumper ex-lover after their five-year affair. Brian Fraser [left], 63, was found not guilty of the attempted murder of Louise Leggatt, 55, and also of causing her grievous bodily harm with intent. He was alleged to have been enraged at the end of his romance with Louise - who the court heard was known in hunting circles BrianFraserAshfordValleyFHJMaccusedofatt.murder1-13.jpgas ‘Leg-Over Leggatt'. The verdicts came after a jury spent five and a half hours deliberating, following a two-week trial at Maidstone Crown Court. But Fraser had already admitted possessing a firearm without a licence and was warned by the judge he could still be sent to prison. Judge Charles Byers said: "You are at risk of serving a custodial sentence. I have never come across such a lackadaisical and irresponsible attitude towards firearms, particularly for someone who is described as a countryman." He bailed him him to return to court on March 18 to be sentenced over that matter. The judge also told Fraser not to have any contact with Louise or her two grown-up sons Ben and William, saying: "I am considering a restraining order which even in the face of an acquittal I can make."
Fraser showed no emotion as the verdicts were delivered but there were cheers and cries of ‘Yes' from his family and friends in the public gallery, including his forgiving wife Nanette who looked tearful. Louise, who was in court, held her head in her hands and looked shattered. She was shot outside her secluded rented farmhouse home in Benenden, Kent, in March last year, as she went to tend her horses. She suffered shotgun injuries to her pelvis and leg, and underwent surgery to remove some of the pellets....
Leaving Maidstone Crown Court after the verdict, Brian's wife Nanette Fraser said: "There's a lot I could say. I'm just relieved it's all over and we can get back to living together."  Mr Fraser's solicitor Toby Burrough read a statement outside the court yesterday, saying; "Mr Fraser has always maintained his innocence in respect of the charges he faced. He is thankful to the jury for reaching the verdict they did. He is obviously tremendously relieved at the outcome today. He would like to thank those who have stood by him and supported him through this case. It has been a tremendously stressful occasion for both him and his family...

Fiona Vigar, JM of the Cattistock FH, dies following accident while hunting 

13-2-13   Daily Mail    Hunt master, 43, dies in hospital three weeks after being thrown from her horse and hitting her head on the ground...    The field master of a fox hunt has died three weeks after falling from her horse while riding with a pack of hounds. Fiona Vigar, 43, who was a former joint master of the Cattistock Hunt in Dorset, came off her horse while riding through a village and suffered a serious head injury. Locals rushed to her aide and she was airlifted to hospital in Bristol but never regained consciousness and passed away on Sunday evening. Mrs Vigar, who had hunted with the group from a very young age, was acting as field master with the Cattistock Hunt when the accident happened on January 24.
Her friends and family paid tribute, describing her as someone who was passionate about country sports. Friend Liz Elliott said she would be dearly missed in the hunting community. She added: 'Fiona was a really good friend, I have known her for about 25 years and she was probably my best pal. She will never be forgotten, everywhere I go in the countryside reminds me of a conversation we would have had there'. Mrs Vigar, from Cerne Abbas, Dorset, had raised money in the past for air ambulance charities after being treated following a previous accident.
Her husband, Chris, and sister Penelope Cobbold thanked medical staff, the air ambulance and well-wishers for their help and support. They said in a statement: 'Fiona has left a huge void in many people's life, but she would not want anybody to dwell on this tragedy. Life was always for living in her case, and that is what she would want those that remember her to carry on doing. We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received from friends and the local community in general and would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those people'.
Mrs Vigar was airlifted from Loders near Bridport and taken to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol where she was put into a coma and had immediate brain surgery. But after almost three weeks in hospital she died. Mrs Vigar was born in Dorset but had a successful career working for the Ministry of Agriculture in Whitehall before returning in the late 1990s. She went on to work in agricultural merchanting for Banks Agriculture, Cargill and Frontier Agriculture, and had travelled extensively around the world.

N.Yorks fox hunt cause anger and alarm by hunting right next to primary school
13-2-13   York Press    School's anger after fox hunt scare    PUPILS at a North Yorkshire primary school had to be kept indoors when a fox ran into the playground as a hunting party rode nearby. The riders and hounds appeared in fields next to Linton-on-Ouse Primary School [right] and children who had been preparing for their afternoon break were not allowed outside until teachers were sure the hunt had moved on, after the appearance of the wild animal and the dogs sparked safety concerns. Head teacherLinton-on-Ouseschool.jpg Morag McLoughlin said the hunt should not have come so close to the school, with parents and children being told about what happened at an assembly the following day. Fox-hunting is illegal, but one parent said he believed the hunters may have inadvertently "frightened" the animal and accused them of "arrogance", saying it was lucky the children were not outside when the fox came on to the school grounds.
Mrs McLoughlin said she saw about four riders and a dozen hounds close to the Linton Woods Lane school just after 2pm last Thursday, while she was teaching. She said: "Lots of hounds were running down the side of the field, so I went out and called for one of the riders to come towards me so I could ask them to move away. He didn't and rode off in a different direction, and I was told horses and hounds had also been seen in a field behind the school and a fox had run across the front playground. The hunt did not come on to the school site, but we did not allow pupils out for their break until we knew all the hounds had gone, because children's health and safety is paramount. We would have much preferred the hunt to keep away from this area. I'm sure they feel they are in control of their hounds, but that cannot be guaranteed. It can also bring up questions from children about what happens with hunting." Mrs McLoughlin said the school had not decided what further steps, if any, to take.
One parent, who did not wish to be named, said his son seemed "upset" when he was picked up from school that day, saying: "The sheer arrogance of carrying on a hunt when you enter a private estate appals me, but it really beggars belief they allowed it go on so close to a primary school. Children may have been at risk from a frightened, agitated wild animal. Two minutes later and they would have been in the playground when the fox passed by." It is not yet known which hunt was in the area at the time, with local hunts not responding when contacted by The Press.
POWAPerson adds;    Judging from the location, the Hunt involved was probably the York and Ainsty South FH. It's a stretch to believe they had laid a trail so close to a school, so what were they doing there, in close proximity to a fleeing fox?


Labour MP attacks Government over 'tacit support' for hunt law-breaking

Chris Williamson, a former Chairman and current trustee of the League Against Cruel Sports, now MP for Derby North, secured an adjournment debate in the Commons and used it to assail Government attitudes toward the Hunting Act.

13-2-13   MSN News    'Blind eye' turned to hunt violence     The hunting ban is too often being ignored because the Government has given its tacit support to the blood sport, a Labour MP has claimed. Chris Williamson [right]said a "significant minority" of supporters were physically assaulting those who set out to monitor whether illegal huntsChrisWilliamsonMP.jpg were taking place but the police were turning a blind eye because ministers had not issued clear guidelines that the ban introduced in 2005 needed to be enforced. The MP, a trustee for the League Against Cruel Sports and a press officer for the Hunt Saboteurs Association in the 1970s, said he was "delighted" by the ban when it came into force. But the MP told the House of Commons the Government needed to give the police clear instructions to maintain the law.
The Derby North MP said: "Hunt violence and hunt havoc continue to blight the lives of ordinary people living in and visiting our beautiful countryside. I have to say that I have been genuinely shocked by the evidence that has been passed to me about the behaviour of these common criminals. "Anti-social behaviour, intimidation, harassment, and even violence towards those even monitoring their activities are all too commonplace," he added. "I couldn't believe that the violence and intimidation that I witnessed in the 1970s is even worse today."
Turning to Home Office Minister Damian Green, he added: "Will you state for the record that as far as this government's concerned, no-one is above the law? And do you agree with me that the mixed messages from senior government ministers could be misinterpreted by some people as tacit approval to break the law? Will you urge your senior colleagues, including the Prime Minister, to stop criticising the Hunting Act?"
Mr Green said that since the ban came in to force nearly eight years ago, there had been more than 70,000 hunting days. Between 2005 and 2011 there had been 332 prosecutions, of which 239 people were found guilty. But he said he could not direct police forces to clamp down on hunting. Mr Green said: "I should point out to you as gently as I can that it is not for ministers to tell chief constables how to do their job. One of things that we most cherish about British policing is that the police are operationally independent. There is not a single police officer in the country doesn't know that the Hunting Act is the law of the land. It is up to the police to decide what resources they use to enforce the Act."

Cattistock FH Field Master Fiona Vigar critically ill after hunting accident

7-2-13   Horse and Hound    Cattistock field master critically ill after fall on road     Cattistock field master Fiona Vigar remains critically ill following a hunting fall on 24 January.  Mrs Vigar, 43, was leading joint-master and huntsman Will Bryer’s horse along a road in Loders, Dorset, when her horse slipped.  She fell, hitting her head on the newly tarmacked road. Surgeons at Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, operated to remove a blood clot and she is being kept in a medically-induced coma.  Will Bryer said he hoped that Fiona — a former joint-master — would "muster that incredibly strong character that we all know and love to pull herself back to us". She is, he added, "a mainstay of the hunt". 

Benighted Heythrop FH suspends hunting after equine herpes outbreak

5-2-13   Oxford Mail    Heythrop Hunt cancels meets due to horse virus outbreak    THE Heythrop Hunt has cancelled its meets for at least a week after cases of equine herpes broke out in the area the hunt covers. The virus, which can be life-threatening, has been found in four horses stabled at a yard near Moreton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire, close to the hunt's headquarters in Chipping Norton. A number of members of the hunt keep horses at the yard.
Anyone who rode out with the Heythrop last week is being advised to isolate their horse, check its temperature morning and evening, and contact a vet if they suspect the animal could be infected. Symptoms of the infection can include respiratory problems, coughing, nasal discharge, a raised or spiking temperature and lack of interest in food. The infected horses are reported to be responding to treatment and vet Tom Campbell is trying to trace the source of the outbreak... 

Avon Vale FH 'Gang of Five' to face trial in April

POWA understands that the trial of five members of the Hunt on Hunting and Badger Act charges will begin on May 6th at Swindon Magistrates Court. The case is being brought by the RSPCA and, unusually, does not rely on monitor video evidence. The charges relate to an incident that took place last month near Calne, Wiltshire last month. The reports below provide further details.

Wiltshire Gazette & Herald   Former huntmaster vows to fight badger sett charges    Five members of the Avon Vale Hunt, including a Wiltshire councillor, have appeared in court charged with breaching the Hunting Act 2004.   Joshua Charlesworth, 18, from East Tytherton; Benjamin Pethers, 28, from Hoopers Pool, Southwick; Stuart Radbourne, 28, from The Common, Bromham; Paul Tylee-Hinder, 58, of Quemerford, Calne and Jonathon Seed, 54, of Chittoe Heath, Bromham all denied the breach JonathanSeedexAvonValeFHconfrontedbyDeniseWardataBoxingDaymeet.jpgwhen they appeared before magistrates in Chippenham on Tuesday.   Four of them denied an additional charge of intefering with a badger sett, though Mr Radbourne, one of the joint hunt masters, indicated a guilty plea to that charge.
The case has been brought by the RSPCA and refers to incidents alleged to have taken place on March 6 this year at Stockley Hollow, near Calne...  Mr Seed, Wiltshire councillor for Summerham and Seend and a former hunt master, said he intended to fight the allegation against him.  In a statement outside court he said: "This is a private prosecution by the RSPCA and I believe that is has been commenced for political reasons as their stance against hunting is well known and it is of great significance that Wiltshire Police, after advice from the Crown Prosecution Service, declined to take this case forward. In my opinion these proceedings are an abuse of the private prosecution system which needs to be addressed in due course. I totally deny the allegations of any offence against the Hunting Act and there is simply no evidence of either myself or any of the other defendants or anyone else being involved in any illegal hunting on the day in question."
Pic above:- Former senior Master Jonathan Seed getting a bit aerated when confronted by POWA's Denise Ward at a Boxing Day meet at Lacock.
8-3-12  Wiltshire Gazette & Herald    Hunt denies disturbing sett at Stockley     Police were called to Stockley after reports that members of the Avon Vale Hunt were digging at a badger sett. A member of the public called the RSPCA claiming four men, accompanied by terrier-like dogs, were digging in a field in the quiet hamlet, near Calne, at about 3.30pm on Tuesday - hunt day in the area. The RSPCA in turn contacted the police who sent units to the scene. PC Hans Monahan, of Calne Police, said: "A member of the public reported seeing some digging taking place around a badger sett, which straddled the hedgerow between two fields in Stockley. "Units arrived at the scene and examined the area and suspected the offences of disturbing a badger sett. They spoke to four males and took their details. Officers have invited the men for interview. Enquiries are still ongoing."  Police said all four men were from the west.
The hunt has denied any wrongdoing and said it is helping police with their enquiries. It is thought that, while the men were being spoken to by officers, one of the dogs appeared from within the sett and was wearing a tracking device. The RSPCA was also looking into the incident and police called for a badger expert to examine the scene yesterday so they could confirm it was a fresh, communal sett....

RSPCA vigorously defends and explains its Heythrop prosecution

The Daily Telegraph responded to the RSPCA's recent announcement that they intended to complain to the PCC about the series of scurrilous articles published by the newspaper concerning the Society's recent prosecution of the Heythrop FH by giving Gavin Grant, RSPCA CEO [left], right of reply.  His statement is mostly contained in a video embedded in the online version of the print article below, which itself contains only a small fraction of it.
In a separate Telegraph
 article, Mr. Grant was also quoted as saying that a 'legal defence fund' that they set up just before the Heythrop convictions has already received donations of GavinGrantRSPCA.jpg£160,000.  He also added that he has "... written to major land owners and to the various hunt trade bodies suggesting to them that it would be timely to form properly constituted trail and drag hunting association to ensure that hunts were acting within the law."
3-2-13 Daily Telegraph  RSPCA: There are no political prosecutions   RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant says it prosecutes "because people break the law" not for political motives. The animal welfare charity already faces allegations of political bias after spending £326,000 prosecuting members of the Heythrop Hunt.
Prime Minister David Cameron is a local MP in the area and had previously ridden with the Heythrop Hunt before law was changed to ban fox-hunting. The hunt and its members were fined £6,800 after admitting four charges of unlawfully hunting a wild fox with dogs. The judge in the case drew attention to the fact that the private prosecution cost nearly 10 times more than the defence costs of £35,000. Mr Grant denied the charity was pursuing a politically motivated case against the Heythrop.
He said: "The RSPCA prosecutes because people break the law in abusing animals. The evidence that was brought to us of the the Heythrop Hunt's activities showed a very clear pattern of gratuitous, repeated and clearly knowing breeches of the Hunting Act of 2005. The RSPCA is motivated as it has been for 188 years by the interests of animal welfare. There are no political prosecutions by the RSPCA. It could not happen, it would not happen and certainly would not happen under my watch."


..... 30th January - Kent hunt master on trial for attempted murder of his former lover

..... 29th January - NT bans Heythrop from hunting on its land from end of season

..... 22nd January - RSPCA complains to PCC re. Telegraph 'smears' after Heythrop prosecution

.....  3rd January - Scottish Hunt accused of illegal killing of fox on Boxing Day


Kent hunt master on trial for attempted murder of former lover

30-1-13   Daily Mail    Spurned huntsman, 63, 'hid in bushes outside horsewoman's home and shot her after she ended their affair' - Brian Fraser accused of trying to kill former lover, 54 - Court told he hid in bushes outside her farmhouse before shooting her - 63-year-old denies attempted murder but admittedBrianFraserAshfordValleyFHJMaccusedofatt.murder1-13.jpg possessing a firearm without a licence     A married master of fox hounds shot his ex-lover after she rejected his bid to rekindle their romance, a court heard yesterday.  Brian Fraser [right] is accused of attempting to murder show-jumper Louise Leggatt ‘in a fit of pique' after she declined to let him watch a horse race with her on television at her house.  Days later, Miss Leggatt, 54, was blasted by a shotgun as she went to tend to her horses.  Two months earlier, an arson attack had gutted her detached home [below left] in the exclusive Kent village of Benenden, forcing her to rent another property next door. The divorced mother of two had a five-year affair with Fraser after they met through the Ashford Valley Hunt in Kent in 2006, Maidstone Crown Court heard.  They split up in October 2011 when Fraser, 64, went back to live with his wife in Shadoxhurst near Ashford. But last year he bought Valentine's Day flowers for Miss Leggatt, the court heard. Then, a few days before the shooting last March, he brought her a box of chocolates when he arrived to help her move some boxes.
Ian Acheson, prosecuting, said: ‘He tried to give her a cuddle or kiss. She did not reciprocate. They went back to her home where she made him coffee and they chatted. These people are fond of horses and members of the hunt and it was the Cheltenham Festival. Louise said that as she was working, she would record the Gold Cup at which Fraser suggested that he come round and they watch it together over a Chinese. When she declined that suggestion, he was miffed and made a jibe or barbed comment as he was leaving.'
Six minutes before leaving his house on the night of the shooting, the court heard, Fraser sent Miss Leggatt a text message, angrily telling her not to ‘make any excuses' about not watching the Gold Cup the following day with him.  Mr Acheson said: ‘In a fit ApplePiefarmwhereBrianFraserallegedlyshotex-lover.jpgof pique, and with the Gold Cup reunion dragged from under his feet, he sent a text message before trying to kill her, a woman who was causing him pain and rage.'  The court heard that the master of fox hounds lied to police twice, having initially denied owning a shotgun and that he had left his house on the night of the shooting.  But a shotgun and cartridges found at his farm were compatible with the weapon with which Miss Leggatt was shot, and Fraser was captured on his own CCTV leaving his home around the time of the shooting, the court heard.
Fraser denies attempting to murder Miss Leggatt on March 15, 2012. She was left with fragments of shot in her bowel and pelvis, but has made a good recovery.  Mr Acheson told the court that Miss Leggatt was at her house that night in Benenden, which is home to the public school of the same name where Princess Anne was educated.  He said: ‘At about 9.30pm she was going to go outside to tend to her horses. She emerged and turned on the patio lights. Her dog was barking and had clearly seen something. His hackles were up. She shone a torch but before she could see or did see anything, she screamed as she realised she'd been shot.'  Initially, Miss Leggatt accused her ex-husband Philip Gorringe, as she blamed him for the arson attack.  He was arrested, but Fraser was later arrested and charged.  The trial continues.

31-1-13   Daily Mail     Former showjumper sobs as she relives 'terrifying' moment gunman shot her and she dragged herself inside home to call police     The shooting, at about 9.30pm last March, happened two months after arsonists attacked her home, forcing her to rent another property next door to where the shooting happened in the Kent village of Benenden.  At Maidstone Crown Court, Mrs Leggatt - who worked in a veterinary surgery - fought back tears as she recalled how a gunman opened fire.  She said: 'Every evening before I go to bed, I always check my horses to give them some hay and make sure that they are all right. I always go to see the horses between 9 and 10 at night. The patio door was locked..... I opened the door and stepped outside to see that my dog was in the corner of the garden, very upset, very angry and barking, not like he normally is with a rabbit or a fox.... I didn't get very far on to the patio and, as I shone the torch across the garden and shut the patio door at the same time, I was shot.'
Ms Leggatt, a mother of two, said she could not see anyone. She said: 'First of all, I heard the sound and then I had a horrendous pain in my leg and hip, and I realised what had happened.'  Her experience of going on shoots and of her sons' involvement with clay pigeon shooting led her to believe she had been targeted with a shotgun. She went on to describe the frantic moments that followed as she crawled back into the house through the partly-opened patio door to try to raise the alarm.  'I pulled the door to but I didn't manage to lock it. I was just desperate to get to a phone,' she said.  'My mobile phone had been hit because it was in my pocket so I crawled across the dining room where the house phone was and I managed to get the phone and dial 999.'  Describing the thoughts running through her head at the time, she told the jury: 'I was absolutely terrified. I had never been so terrified in all my life. I was really really scared that whoever had done it was going to come back in and I couldn't get back to lock the door.'  Mrs Leggatt said it 'seemed like forever' for paramedics to arrive as an emergency operator told her a firearms unit would have to be deployed first. 'I was aware that my leg was bleeding very badly and there was a lady on the end of the line who was very, very kind,' she told jurors.  'She said that a firearms unit had to come and the paramedics couldn't come until the firearms unit had arrived. I was just so scared.'
She was stretchered to an ambulance and taken to Pembury Hospital in Tunbridge Wells but still felt her attacker might try to reach her again. Mrs Leggatt said the wounds have healed but she has a large scar on her stomach where she was operated on and scarring on her leg. Some shotgun pellets remain in her leg, causing her 'shooting pain' as they sit by her sciatic nerve.  She also said she has suffered a loss of feeling below her knee.
She told how she met Fraser socially through hunting circles in the early 2000s. Mrs Leggatt, who finalised a divorce from her husband Philip Gorringe in 2007, moved in with Fraser. She explained that over time their relationship hit difficulties. She said: 'He spent a lot of time at his farm, an unreasonable amount of time. We spent very little time at weekends, he always seemed to have something else on or something more important to do. We just spent no time together and our relationship just died.'.... Fraser left Mrs Leggatt's home in November 2011, telling her that he was moving in with an older couple who had difficulties looking after their sheep.
After a couple of weeks, Fraser started telephoning her, asking her to meet him. She said: 'I was quite upset that the relationship had deteriorated. But by the time he had moved out, I was relieved he had gone because his behaviour had become quite strange. His behaviour frightened me on a few occasions.'.... Mrs Leggatt said Fraser had a 'foul temper'.  She said: 'On a couple of occasion he did hurt me. He had such a foul temper that it could be sparked off by nothing in particular, and then it was as if it never happened.'
Despite attempts by Fraser to woo her back with regular phone calls and text messages, Mrs Leggatt said she resisted renewing their relationship.  'I said "no", we can remains friends but that is all,' she said.  Describing his reaction to the arson attack on her home two months before the shooting, she said she was surprised that he did not give her emotional support.... On Valentine's Day, he bought her a large bunch of flowers, something she described as 'very unusual'.  He kept trying to maintain contact with her. Mrs Leggatt said: 'He knew where I was and what I was doing a bit too much.'  The trial continues.

National Trust bans Heythrop FH from hunting its land after end of season
29-1-13   National Trust Facebook   Heythrop Hunt statement     The Heythrop Hunt is licensed to trail hunt on National Trust land in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.  In light of the fact that members of this group have recently been convicted of illegal fox hunting, the Trust has decided not to renew the hunt’s licences when they expire on 31 March 2013.
A National Trust spokesman said: "We are very much aware of the importance of countryside traditions and we allow field sports to take place on our property where they are traditionally practised, providing they are within the law and are compatible with the Trust’s purposes. These include public access and the protection of rare animals and birds and fragile habitats.  Whilst the illegal activity in this case did not take place on land we own, we consider it to be a serious breach of trust. The conviction has given us major cause for concern about how the hunt runs its activities, which is why we will not renew the hunt’s license at the end of March.  We have spoken to the hunt and also followed up in writing to make it clear that they will need to work closely with our local teams to rebuild our confidence in how they run their activities before we can consider an application to renew their trail hunting license.  The Trust is a charitable body and does not take a political position either for or against field sports."

6-2-13   Daily Mirror    Tally no! National Trust bans David Cameron's local hunt from its land     David Cameron’s local hunt is to be barred from riding over land owned by the National Trust after it was convicted of hunting a fox with dogs. The Heythrop Hunt in Oxfordshire was fined £4,000 with £15,000 costs. A National Trust spokesman said: "We consider this conviction to be a serious breach of trust. It gave us major cause for concern about how the hunt runs its activities. They need to work closely with us to rebuild our confidence."     Magistrates at Oxford saw film of a hound with a dead fox in its mouth.  The Prime Minister rode with the Heythrop hunt in his Witney constituency before fox hunting became illegal in 2005.   The Trust spokesman added: "We are aware of the importance of countryside traditions and allow field sports where they are traditionally practised, providing they are within the law." 

POWAPerson adds:   One wonders why the NT did not withdraw the Heythrop's existing licence for this season, as they did after the Senior Master and a terrierman of the Meynell FH were found guilty of illegal hunting last year. One also notes they have left the door open for the Heythrop to renew if they can convince that NT that they've mended their ways - and wonders how much convincing they'd actually need.  It is true that none of the Hunting Act offences to which the Heythrop and two of its members pleaded guilty took place on NT land, but the incident that was subject to one of the other charges they were arraigned on did. This, and the other 7 charges, were only dropped because of the last-minute agreement by the Heythrop to plead guilty to two counts. Monitors believe the evidence in this case was quite as strong as that on the counts to which they pleaded guilty and would probably have resulted in convictions of those charged had it been proceeded with.

RSPCA complains to PCC over Telegraph 'smears' following Heythrop prosecution

22-1-13   RSPCA Press Release   RSPCA makes formal complaint to PCC   The RSPCA has started the formal process of making a complaint against the Daily Telegraph newspaper to the Press Complaints Commission after it failed to print an apology or offer a right to reply after printing a series of potentially defamatory articles.   The RSPCA says the stories are factually incorrect and reflect biased and unbalanced reporting style.  The articles show clear support for the political agenda of the Countryside Alliance in seeking the return of blood sports. In their factual inaccuracies and bias they are not consistent with high standards of journalism 
The RSPCA is referring in particular to the stories claiming the RSPCA broke charity rules over the successful prosecution of a hunt and saying that the RSPCA was warned on hunt prosecutions by the Charity Commission.  The Charity Commission has been clear that no rules have been broken, no warning has been issued and at no stage have they investigated the RSPCA. RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: "These stories are a sustained attack on the RSPCA.  The facts are that we have always and will continue to only act in the interests of the animals. We simply want the truth to be heard. The Daily Telegraph is entitled to its editorial position in support of blood sports despite the overwhelming public rejection of that view. They are not entitled to produce factually inaccurate articles that smear the good name of the RSPCA"

Scottish Hunt accused of illegal killing of fox on Boxing Day

3-1-13   Galloway News   Hunt accused of killing fox illegally    A fox was found ripped to shreds after a traditional Boxing Day hunt. A woman who was out walking her dog on Thursday was horrified to discover the remains of the animal lying by the side of a road near Gatehouse. She contacted police over fears that the fox could have been killed illegally during the hunt.  However a spokesman for Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary said the incident is not being treated as suspicious although it has been reported to council environmental health officers.
The dog walker described the sight of the dead fox as "horrific". She said: "I found it at an area known locally as The Cape, between the town’s war memorial and tennis courts. "The carcass was in such a mess and it was an horrific sight. "I walk the dog round there practically every day and I can say for absolute certain that there were no animal remains there the day before the hunt. "What made it even more suspicious was the fact there were a lot of hoof marks in the grass round the carcass. I don’t have any detailed understanding of the hunting legislation, but I do know that actually killing the fox is against the law these days, so I phoned the police when I got back home. The remains weren’t there the next day. I don’t know if the police had removed them for evidence, if some scavenger had dragged them away, or if another disgusted walker had thrown them over the hedge so no one had to see them any more."
Andrew Cook, master and huntsman of Dumfries and Stewartry Foxhounds group, insisted that they were not involved in the killing of the fox found by the walker. He said: "There were eight guns out and we killed two foxes, which is allowed under the law. The foxes were shot. "We did run into the woods briefly which was unfortunate. The dogs are allowed to flush the foxes from cover, which is legal under the law, and sometimes this does result in them touching the fox."
Ian Beaumont, of national animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports, said they had been "inundated" with calls from all over the country regarding hunting on Boxing Day. He said: "We are currently processing the calls we’ve had and we are grateful to the person who reported this incident to The Galloway News and to the newspaper for bringing it to our attention."


..... 29th December - Hound caught red-faced suggests the C&H may still be at it

..... 27th December - LACS says they are preparing to prosecute three more Hunts

..... 27th December - CPS moves to try to defend its abysmal record on Hunt prosecutions

..... 26th December - Southdown/Eridge FH thugs attacked & hospitalised sab, says HSA

..... 26th December - Paterson admits they don't have the votes to repeal the Hunting Act

..... 26th December - New polling shows support for fox hunting down to all time low of 15%

..... 24th December - Charities Commision rejects pro-hunt moan about RSPCA Heythrop spend

..... 22nd December - 'Hunt Watch' scheme proposed for Cumbria

..... 20th December - Ross Harriers JM/Huntsman convicted of racial abuse is to appeal

..... 17th December - Heythrop FH, ex JM and former Huntsman plead guilty to illegal hunting charges

..... 13th December - Albrighton FH Huntsman Ray Shaw is found dead at his home

..... 10th December - Eglington FH had to pay ex-huntsman £40,000 after years of 'slave wages'

.....  9th December - Sir Patrick Moore, CBE - doughty anti-hunt campaigner - passes away

.....  8th December - Sabs claim film shows Old Surrey FH hunting fox and refusing to call off hounds 

.....  8th December - Sab ridden down by hunter at Tedworth FH - airlifted to hospital 

.....  7th December - Shocked resident sees North Ledbury hounds chasing fawn across his land 

.....  7th December - Assault on sabs case against Mid-Devon FH rider dropped by CPS


Hound caught red-faced suggest Crawley & Horsham FH may still be at it
29-12-12   S.Downs Hunt Sabs blog    Today saboteurs from the south visited the Crawley and Horsham Hunt who were having a young peoples meet near Coolham, Sussex. Despite the field being mostly children, the recent convictions and media attention on illegal hunting nationally, the Hunt continued to pursue foxes as normal, with hounds in cry from the very start.
Saboteurs were however able to intervene throughout the day, allowing numerous foxes to get away to safety and keep the hunt on the run and unable to kill.  However despite this at the start of the day one hound was spotted [see photo] with blood on its face and one huntsman commenting "Well done Nick, that was quite fast that one". Frustrated with cameras and the determination of sabs who stuck to the hunt all day, the hunt called it a day, packing up at a very early 1.30! One likely kill but thanks to saboteur action many foxes were saved and the hunt made an early retreat, clearly worried about another conviction ...


LACS preparing Hunting Act cases against anther three Hunts
27-12-12  Daily Mirror    Hunters are hunted: Campaigners claim three hunts still kill foxes with hounds despite ban    Animal rights groups say some are ignoring the ban and continuing to allow dogs to savage the helpless animals.  Furious animal rights campaigners last night vowed to flush out hunting groups who break the law and use dogs to kill foxes. The League Against Cruel Sports claim some are simply ignoring the ban and continuing the barbaric act of allowing hounds to savage the helpless animals. JoeDuckworthLACS.jpgAnd the charity insists it has found enough evidence to prosecute three unnamed hunts for illegal activity. The claims come as the Government shelved plans for a vote on repealing the ban with the Tories admitting the bid would probably be thrown out.
Joe Duckworth [left] of the League Against Cruel Sports said it had spent £1million on hiring former police officers to monitor hunts after the season started last month. As more than 300 legal Boxing Day meets got under way yesterday, he added: "Even though the hunting season is only a few weeks old, we already have cases against three hunts. We have invested £1million in recruiting ­investigators who are out in the field, many of them ex-police officers, and we have quadrupled the number we have out in the field trying to catch these people hunting illegally. The lawbreaking in the hunts is widespread. They are the extremists. They may dress up in posh clothes but they are conspiring to break the law."
Mr Duckworth said a former Special Branch intelligence officer leads the team of investigators which also includes former RSPCA official based across England and Wales. The League has also provided training to police forces on investigating illegal hunting and plans to recruit and train 100 volunteer investigators....  Mr Duckworth spoke just a week after the RSPCA successfully ­prosecuted members of David Cameron’s local hunt, the Heythrop in Oxfordshire, for unlawfully hunting a fox with dogs....

'Upper class should not be above the law' - By Joe Duckworth of the League Against Cruel Sports

Owen Paterson is a blood sports ­enthusiast who wants to repeal the Hunting Act but knows most MPs won’t get rid of it.  So he will arm-twist them over the next year to try to get his way. Why doesn’t he listen to us?  Three out of four ordinary people want this cruelty kept as history.
We see no place in modern Britain for feudal shenanigans. David Cameron should stop pandering to the hunting lobby and admit the Act is the will of the people and here to stay. Yesterday our hunt line was red hot with reports.  That’s why we’ve invested in investigators. We shouldn’t have to, but it’ll carry on until we stop them.  If you hunt, whether you live in a castle or council house, you are not above the law.  Stop now or we’ll see you in court. 


CPS moved to try to defend its abysmal record on Hunt prosecution

The CPS, rightly in receipt of widespread criticism over its past failure to prosecute law-breaking Hunts in the wake of the RSPCA's recent easy win over the Heythrop, felt obliged to issue a defensive, and typically misleading statement, of their record. That statement follows, with the two letters below pointing out exactly what was wrong with it.

27-12-12  ITV News Online
   CPS denies claims over hunting prosecutions   The Crown Prosecution Service has denied reports alleging that it has not been prosecuting hunting offences, insisting that it does so when it is in the public interest.
Statement from Peter Lewis, Chief Executive, Crown Prosecution Service - There have been a number of recent reports inferring that the CPS is reluctant to, and does not, prosecute hunting offences. This is wrong. Where there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction, and it is in the public interest, the CPS does prosecute such cases. Indeed, since the introduction of the Hunting Act in 2005, 371 offences have been charged and brought to magistrates' courts.

2-1-13  Independent     Sir,  Mr Peter Lewis, Chief Executive of the Crown Prosecution Service, says that it is wrong to imply that the CPS is "reluctant to, and does not, prosecute hunting offences."  I am one of the group of monitors who supplied the footage used in the RSPCA's successful prosecution of the Heythrop Hunt Limited, and we turned to the RSPCA because over 30 similar previous submissions of ours , relating to several hunts in several counties, had not been prosecuted by the relevant Crown Prosecution Services.  The RSPCA saw that our footage was of a high standard and duly prosecuted the Heythrop, a prosecution which resulted in their "guilty" pleas.
Mr Lewis refers to the 371 offences that have been charged by the CPS under the Hunting Act, which is very good, but, with a few exceptions, these have related to the horrible activity of hare coursing, undertaken by a few yobs with lurchers. The prosecution of the wealthy and powerful organised hunts has been another matter, mostly conspicuous by its absence, and I hope that the success of the RSPCA's prosecution will now encourage the CPS to look with fresh eyes, and a new enthusiasm, at evidence of the illegal hunting of deer, hare and fox by what are simply organised gangs of bullying animal abusers. The public need to know that these people are subject to the law of the land, just like everyone else. The implementation of the Hunting Act cannot not be left to ordinary citizens (i.e. the monitors) and to charities. 
Yours sincerely, Penny Little, Gt.Haseley, Oxon

28-12-12  Guardian     Sir,   Peter Lewis, Chief executive of the Crown Prosecution Service, is disingenuous when he says that the CPS prosecutes hunting cases.  The CPS prosecutes lads out with dogs who do nasty things to wild animals. It is most reluctant to prosecute registered hunts doing the same thing. Less than a dozen or so of the 371 CPS cases he mentions have been against animal abusers of the red-coated variety.  Lads with dogs generally plead guilty and don't cost much; hunts are prepared to spend money to employ QCs to defend themselves. The strong suspicion in the heavily hunted West Country, where only three public prosecutions have been mounted, is that if you have money you can hunt illegally with virtual impunity.
Ivor Annetts, Tiverton, Devon

Southdown & Eridge FH thugs attack & hospitalise sab, man arrested
31-12-12   Brighton Argus    Arrest following attack on anti-hunt group     A man has been arrested following an attack on an anti-foxhunting group as they monitored a Boxing Day meet. A member of the Hunt Saboteurs Association has alleged to police he had a brick thrown at the window of his car, had his iPad and keys stolen and was assaulted with sticks as he monitored the Southdown and Eridge Fox Hunt [right] in Plumpton on Boxing Day.  Sussex Police said a 23-year-oldSDownandEridgeFHBoxingDayLewes.jpg local man was arrested for criminal damage, assault and theft and bailed until January 30 while the investigation continued.
A spokesman from the Hunt Saboteurs Association said: "About seven masked men came running towards our parked 4x4. "One of our members locked himself inside the car for protection. "The windscreen was smashed, another man was trying to smash the driver's door and a third came through the rear door. As well as the windscreen both doors on the driver's side have been severely damaged and they stole not only the keys to the vehicle but also an iPad."
A spokesman from Sussex Police said: "Police are investigating a report of an attack on a man monitoring the Southdown and Eridge Hunt on Boxing Day. "The man says he was in his Landrover at Plumpton on Wednesday morning when he was attacked by a number of men who had approached on quad bikes. He said he was hit with sticks, suffering a cut to his hand and had his iPad and ignition keys taken. A 23-year-old local man was arrested for criminal damage, assault and theft and bailed until January 30 for further inquiries."
In October, members of the Hunt Saboteurs Association said they were attacked by masked men while they monitored a meeting in Firle, near Lewes. On that occasion, a 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault. He was bailed until December 3 but police have since decided that no further action will be taken against him. The Southdown and Eridge Hunt Secretary, Mrs D Grantham, refused to comment.

27-12-12  Independent     Police have arrested a 23-year-old man after a hunt saboteur was apparently beaten with sticks by a gang of men on quad bikes during a Boxing Day hunt   The Hunt Saboteurs Association blamed hunt supporters for the alleged attack in Plumpton, East Sussex, which left the victim with "severe injuries" to his hands. He had been monitoring the Southdown and Eridge Hunt from a parked Land Rover, the association said. Tension between the pro- and anti-hunting lobbies has intensified after a reported increase in illegal hunting. Members of the hunt did not respond to a request for comment.

26-12-12   HSA Press Release     Vicious attack on hunt saboteur on Foxhunts' most prestigious day      A hunt saboteur has been viciously beaten by supporters of the South SouthdownandEridgeFHthugssmashedsabvanwindscreenafterattackingoccupant26-12-12.JPGDown and Eridge Foxhunt during their prestigious Boxing Day meet at the White Hart pub in Lewes, East Sussex.  The saboteur was on his own in a vehicle when a hunt supporter got in through an unlocked rear door.  A group of seven men then attacked him with walking sticks and he was forced to curl up to protect himself.   He suffered severe injuries to his hands which he had used to cover his head. The attackers also stole an I-pad, the vehicles keys and caused damage to the vehicle, including smashing the windscreen [left].  One man has been arrested following the incident.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: "Boxing Day is the most prestigious, high profile day in the hunting calendar, the day when the national press are watching them and they are on their best behaviour. Yet still their violent supporters cannot control themselves and viciously attack those who peacefully oppose them. We are pleased the police have acted so promptly and are hopeful that more arrests will follow."

26-12-12   S.Downs Hunt sabs blog     .... The Southdown and Eridge Hunt meet in the centre of Lewes, blocking up the streets, and then ride upSabattackedbySouthdownandEridgeFHthugs27-10-12.jpg onto the Downs to the west. Brighton and Hastings sabs had already climbed the hill and were waiting for them near Blackcap. From very early on several familiar men on quad bikes were driving at the group and attempting to intimidate the sabs and other people out walking. The hunt recently told police these men are nothing to do with the hunt, yet they always appear wherever the hunt is and claim to be 'agents' of the landowners, wherever they are. They even do what the hunt tells them to.
The hunt did not stop to cast for a scent until well away from all public rights of way. No trail was laid. When sabs heard hounds in cry, the same men on quad bikes physically prevented sabs from leaving the footpath and punched several sabs too. Eventually we had to walk to rejoin our vehicles as the hunt had moved off out of sight. As our vehicles arrived on the busy A27, the men threw a rock at our vehicles, narrowly missing the windscreen of the car behind.
Once we were back up on the hills looking for the hunt our drivers told us they were being attacked in their vehicles. We must be very careful what we write so as not to prejudice any criminal proceedings brought against the attackers. Both drivers were attacked, one injured, property was stolen and a vehicle damaged. Police are investigating...

POWAperson adds:-   Sabs actually say there were several assaults on them on Boxing Day, of which the headlined one was just the most serious.  And this is by far the first time sabs have claimed to have been attacked by mobs of thugs connected with this Hunt in recent years. Previous reports can be found  
here , here , here and here.  Pic above right is of sab injured last time the hunt thugs cut loose.

Paterson admits they don't have the votes to repeal the Hunting Act

26-12-12  Daily Telegraph   Hunting ban will not be repealed, Tories admit - David Cameron cannotOwenPatersonMP.jpg repeal Labour’s ban on foxhunting, senior Conservatives have admitted     Owen Paterson [right], the Environment Secretary, told the Daily Telegraph there is no immediate prospect of winning a Commons vote on making hunting legal again. Supporters of hunting must do "more work" to win around sceptical MPs, he said. Backbench Tory supporters of hunting also accepted that there is no realistic chance of a vote in 2013 and perhaps even in 2014.
In one of the most controversial acts of the last government, hunting with dogs was outlawed in 2005. In the Coalition Agreement struck in 2010, Mr Cameron has promised MPs a TraceyCrouchMPToryanti.jpgfree vote on the overturning the ban as soon as parliamentary time is available. The majority of Conservative MPs oppose the ban, but Labour, the Liberal Democrats and some urban Tories believe it should stay.
That means a Commons vote would probably reaffirm the ban. Mr Paterson, a keen rider, is the Cabinet’s leading supporter of hunting and other country sports. He said he accepts there is no prospect of winning a vote next year, saying only that the vote will come "at an appropriate moment."  Mr Paterson said: "There’s only a point having a vote if you’re going to win. At the moment I, it would not be my proposal to bring forward a vote which we were going to lose. There needs to be more work done on members of parliament."  He added: "It is our clear intention to have a free vote but we need to choose an appropriate moment."....
Some Conservatives believe that Mr Cameron is dragging his heels over the hunt vote, fearful of revisiting an issue that could fuel Labour attacks.  The Opposition has sought to use the hunting issue to portray the Conservatives and the Prime Minister personally as preoccupied with theDavidCameronandGuyAvisHon.SecHeythropFH.jpg concerns of a privileged elite, and out of touch with wider public opinion.  Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, last week taunted Mr Cameron in the Commons, drawing cheers from Labour MPs as he suggested the Prime Minister was "looking forward to the Boxing Day hunt".
Mr Paterson said that Mr Cameron, who used to hunt in Oxfordshire before the ban, remained personally committed to legalising the sport. He said: "I think in fairness I think he’s been very clear about it, but when parliamentary time is really tight there’s no point in bumbling ahead." Backbench supporters of hunting also accepted that now is not the right time for a vote on the issue.....
Mr Paterson’s department will next year make another attempt to start a cull of badgers in the south-west of England, a move ministers say would make it even less likely for the hunting ban to be lifted.  A Lib Dem minister said the badger cull makes it even less likely that the Coalition will move on foxhunting in the next year. "I think even the Tories realise that we should only be trying MaryCreaghMP.jpgto kill one cute furry mammal at a time," the minister said.
Many traditional Conservative MPs oppose the ban but a group of Tories first elected in 2010 in urban seats say it should stay. Tracey Crouch [above left], the MP for Chatham and Aylesford, said it was sensible to postpone a hunting vote. "This is good news because the vast majority of the country does not want to see a return to the barbaric sport of fox hunting," she said, adding that repealing the ban would hurt the party. The success of the Conservative Party means that it elected Members of Parliament in urban areas where foxhunting has little or no support."
Prior to the ban, Mr Cameron [above right, with Heythrop Hon.Sec.] rode several times with the Heythrop Hunt, which covers his Whitney constituency. Last week, member of the hunt were fined after admitted killing foxes in breach of the ban. Their convictions came after a controversial prosecution brought by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which spent more than £320,000 on the case.
Mary Creagh, the Labour shadow environment secretary, said her party would vote to maintain the ban. "Most people back Labour’s ban on hunting wild animals with dogs and accept there is no place for animal cruelty in a civilised society," she said. She added: "After the recent high profile conviction of members of the Prime Minister’s hunt, I hope that hunts will respect the law this year."
Albrighton FH Huntsman Ray Shaw is found dead at his home

13-12-12   Wolverhampton Express & Star   Huntsman is found dead at Albrighton home     A respected member of a hunting group has been found dead at his home in Albrighton. Huntsman Ray Shaw was discovered at his property in Kennels Lane after failing to turn up to a meet.  Colleagues at the Albrighton Hunt today spoke of their shock and paid tribute to a "very hard-working huntsman".
Mr Shaw, who was in his mid-40s, had worked for the Albrighton Hunt for the past two-and-a-half years. He was employed along with his wife Margaret and they looked after the hounds and horses. He walked the dogs daily and was involved in the breeding of the horses. Members of the hunt gathered for a meet on Tuesday and Mr Shaw failed to turn up. They visited his home and, after knocking the door down, discovered his body.
Master huntsman Andrew Crane said that hunting had been suspended until further notice as a mark of respect. West Mercia Police officers are investigating Mr Shaw's death but at this stage no-one else is thought to be involved.

POWAperson understands from a pro-hunt source that a gun was found close by Mr.Shaw's body. Any premature death is regrettable.

Eglington FH had to pay ex-huntsman £40,000 after years of 'slave wages'
Sacked for complaining to taxman, he refuses 'hush money' offer to continue fight for justice
Employee of Hunt whose members 'read like Burke's peerage' treated 'like dirt'
10-12-12   Scottish Daily Record    Revealed: Toffs' foxhunting club paid worker £1.50 PER HOUR and forced him to slop out from caravan     A FOXHUNTING club run by some of Scotland's top toffs have been exposed for paying a huntsman "slave wages" and forcing him to slop out.  Mark Vincent [left], who worked for the elite Eglinton Hunt [below, right] in EglingtonFHex-huntsmansackedforcomplainingre.slavewages.jpgAyrshire for five years, was paid just £1.50 an hour and expected to work up to 80 hours a week. And while the club's landed gentry lived in the lap of luxury in their castles and mansions, Mark claims he had to sleep in a derelict caravan without plumbing.  The 45-year-old was awarded £40,000 earlier this year after reporting the hunt to HMRC for paying him less than the minimum wage. But yesterday Mark broke his silence, demanding to know why there had been no criminal prosecution over the way he was treated.  He said: "The hounds were treated better than me."
Among the members of the foxhunting club were wealthy businessman Neville Washington OBE, former Tory councillor Rose-Ann Cuninghame and John Briggs, who owns Kilhenzie Castle, near Maybole, Ayrshire.  Mark said: "The membership of the Eglinton Hunt read like Burke's Peerage. Yet these toffs were happy to pay me about £1.50 an hour and keep me living in shocking conditions in a caravan on castle grounds. These people should be ashamed of themselves for the way I have been treated."
Mark revealed how he worked 10-hour days setting up hunts, looking after the club's 58 hounds and rebuilding the kennels for a miserly £100 a week. He said he was promised a cottage, holidays and a pension -EglingtonFHAyrshire.jpg but none of this materialised.  Mark added: "I stuck it out because I loved the job and thought things would improve. But they never did. They just got worse. They think they are above the law because they've got money but I decided to take them on over the way I was treated. At one point, I was working 80-hour weeks for £100 a week when they told me to go down to Dumfriesshire and set up hunts down there too. It was nothing short of slave labour."
Mark's dilapidated caravan was in the grounds of Caprington Castle, near Kilmarnock, which is owned by Cuninghame. He said: "There were 58 hounds and they needed someone to look after them 24/7, so they put me in a caravan next to the castle. "It was uninhabitable. There was no plumbing, so I had to slop out. There was water running down the inside of the walls and the floors were rotten."  Mark, originally from Yorkshire, said he was headhunted by the Eglinton Hunt in 2003 after the new foxhunting laws were brought in.  He said: "They knew I had loads of experience and they wanted someone who knew what they were doing, so they offered me the job, which was supposed to come with a decent wage, a cottage, a pension and holidays. Instead, I was treated like dirt by the landed gentry. I was their skivvy. They had me running about like a madman doing everything, yet paying me wages which didn't come anywhere near the minimum wage."...  he made a complaint to HMRC, who enforce the national minimum wage and have the power to order organisations to pay workers any arrears they uncover in investigations. A lengthy probe revealed that Mark had been underpaid for five years and Eglinton Hunt were told to pay up nearly £50,000. The amount was reduced to £40,000 after they contested it and he got his cheque in March.
Mark, who was sacked just months after reporting the club to the taxman, is now taking the club to an employment tribunal.....  Mark said his decision to take action has ruined his career. He explained: "I haven't worked in foxhunting since I was sacked in November 2008. "The toffs stick together and I'm just bad news to them because I stood up for myself." Mark added: "I won my case with the taxman against them but I want to know why no one has been prosecuted over this. It seems to be one rule for the rich and one for the poor. In the whole time I was employed, I never received a payslip. They said they were paying my pension contributions but that was all lies."
No one from the Eglinton Hunt, who disbanded in 2008, wished to comment....  Washington, who is listed as one of the respondents along with Cuninghame in the tribunal case, has offered Mark £10,000 to drop the case in a letter sent last month....  Mark turned down the offer. He said: "I will continue my fight to clear my name. "I'm not interested in the money. I want justice. "These toffs cannot be allowed to get away with treating people like that. It has been a long battle and I am not going to give up now."

POWAperson comments;-  Somehow it comes as no surprise to learn that some Hunts treat their employees hardly any better than they do the wild animals they chase and kill for fun, or the domestic animals they exploit as tools of their 'sport'.  Mr. Vincent complains that 'the hounds were treated better than  me' - but at least the Hunt didn't take him round the back of the kennels and put a bullet through his head when he was no longer of use to them.  However awful his conditions of employment, he managed five years service, which is more than a lot of hounds are allowed before they are terminated - 'with extreme prejudice'.  As Huntsman, he was probably party to that hound 'culling' process. Nevertheless, we wish him fortune in his dogged pursuit of 'justice' against the Eglington and, like him, wonder why no criminal prosecution of the Hunt followed the HMRC's apparent finding that they had been breaking the minimum wage law for years.

Sir Patrick Moore - doughty anti-hunting campaigner for decades - passes
Once assessed hunters with memorable phrase '... but you can't talk to these filthy people.'

9-12-12    The death of Sir Patrick Moore CBE, at his home in West Sussex, aged 89, was announced today. He had suffered a series of illnesses, but died peacefully with close friends, carers and his pet cat Ptolemy at his bedside. Moore was best known to the public as an astronomer, the presenter of Britain's longest-running TV programme 'The Sky at Night', which began in 1957.  But he was much more than a science-educator PatrickMooreandBrianMay.jpgto the masses. Sir Patrick was a 'Renaissance man': highly respected in his specialism, he also revelled in and, at times, excelled at many other activities, such as music, chess, cricket, am-dram and much more, always leavened with a hefty dose of English eccentricity and an endearing enthusiasm - and had almost assumed the status  of 'national treaure'.
Patrick Moore was fearlessly outspoken, holding and expressing some political views which modern progressives would find objectionable, yet he inspired great affection in many people. He was a complex, sometimes self-contradictory character. For instance, he saw himself as a great animal lover and campaigned for and patronised many animal welfare causes and charities - yet, reportedly, he was not a vegetarian.
But, nonetheless, he will forever be remembered and respected by animal protection campaigners, especially as a forthright opponent of the 'sport' of hunting with dogs, over many decades and starting at a time when such views were widely regarded as crankish and bolshie, and were certain to attract obloquy and hostility, from social elites at least.

He latterly became close to another prominent, if more recent, wildlife protection campaigner, and fellow scientist, Brian May [pictured with Moore, above left].  Sir Patrick's last major intervention in the hunting debate came in March 2009, when he made a six-minute film for the BBC show 'The Daily Politics', explaining how and why he believed the Hunting Act 2004 was failing to stop organised Hunts from chasing and killing live quarry, and scornfully beat off attacks on his views from Conservative politicians Theresa May and Liam Fox [regrettably, the online content isn't working].
Wildlife could do with many more prominent people with the conviction and passion of Sir Patrick Moore, to help defend them against exploitation and abuse by other humans. He will be missed. 

Sabs claim film shows Old Surrey FH hounds in full cry after fox
Huntsman fails to to call them off - angrily shouts 'You are trying to stop us hunting!'

8-8-12  Hunt Sabs have uploaded footage to You Tube from today of the Old Surrey,MarkBycroftOSBWKFHuntsmanHowdareyou....JPG Burstow and West Kent FH operating near Felbridge.  We first hear, then see, highly excited hounds in full cry, suggesting they were not hunting a drag line, and one sab says she saw the fox break cover, though this was not caught on film.  We then see sabs chasing riders, including the Huntsman, Mark Bycroft [right] down the road and advising him to call hounds off and that they are being filmed.   Bycroft makes no attempt to do so, and, instead, turns to sabs and screams 'You are trying to stop us hunting.... How dare you stop us from hunting!'.
POWA does not yet know what happened next.  The Hunt will  doubtless deny they were chasing a fox and that the Huntsman meant the sabs were trying to stop them 'trail' hunting.

The following additional information on the day soon became available:-

8-12-12   South Downs Hunt Sabs blog   With the South Down and Erridge Fox Hunt not out, two landrovers of saboteurs greeted the Old Surrey and Burstow Fox Hunt who were meeting just west of Tunbridge Wells, Kent. We kept them running all day, with the hounds going into full cry a number of times, however our presence and actions prevented any kills. At one point a fox was chased across a road in front of sabs, with the hound’s just metres from the foxes tail, we however quickly intervened and were able to prevent a kill. As the day wore on the hunt got further frustrated with our presence resorting to pushing and violence against saboteurs on a number of occasions. Comically one sab was told to go back to their "shitty little council estate". It is rare that we see such blatant hunting as was witnessed today. No known kills, lots of foxes saved.  South Down Hunt sabs blogs can be subscribed to here.

POWAperson adds;-   Huntsman Mark 'How dare you stop us hunting' Bycroft was convicted of assaulting a sab in the early 90s, when he was the OSBWKFH's whipper-in, receiving a Community Service Order. He was rewarded by being promoted to Huntsman the next year. In the early 2000s he was also convicted for driving without consideration.  Mark's father, John, was a self-confessed pro-hunt militant in the run-up to the Hunting Act 2004, and acts as a terrierman for the Fitzwilliam FH.  Earlier this year, he was convicted of a Hunting Act and an Animal Welfare Act charge after he and his assistant had flushed a pregnant vixen from a hole with a terrier and put the fox into a small barrel-type container on his quad bike.  Mark's brother, Nick, has been Huntsman of the Crawley & Horsham FH for the last couple of years. Three members of that Hunt, a JM, the Secretary/whipper-in and a former huntsman were this spring convicted of illegal hunting in January and February 2011. Nick Bycroft may well have been acting as Huntsman on those days, but, even if he was, he was not charged with the others and, unlike his father and brother, has not an official stain on his character.

The Old Surrey has acquired quite a reputation over the years, though most of the allegations of violence by them and their supporters against sabs and monitors have not resulted in prosecutions. The most serious of these allegations are:- 

- In November 2011 a female sab was allegedly 
assaulted by an OSBWKFH supporter, resulting in a nasty head wound. Statements and video were given to police.

- In 2007, it is 
said that a mob of hunt supporters attacked sabs in their vehicle, smashing all the windows and leaving one sab with a badly injured arm. He was ambulanced to hospital. 

- In 2004, another group of sabs 
claimed they were attacked at the Old Surrey's opening meet. One was knocked unconscious with an iron bar, six received injuries to face or head, others were bruised. Several sabs maintained that Mark Bycroft instigated and took part in the attack. A sab's video camera was also allegedly stolen. Police took no action.

- In 2000, one of the most serious 
incidents in hunter-sab history occurred. Sab Steve Christmas was gravely injured when he was driven over by an OSBWKFH supporter's 4x4. He was on life support for many days and it was thought he would die. He has never fully recovered. The driver was apparently identified as Martin Maynard, who is said to have had no insurance and a record of violence. He was charged with 'Causing Grevious Bodily Harm with Intent', but the CPS dropped the prosecution for legal reasons. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board later awarded Steve £18,500, recognition that he was victim of an extremely serious assault.

- In 1994, three sabs 
stated that they spotted an Old Surrey rider whipping his horse. When they stopped to take photos he allegedly attacked them with a hammer, wounding all 3 to their heads.    

Sabs attribute these failures to prosecute largely to bias against them by police. But, besides those above-mentioned of Mark Bycroft, the OSBWKFH followers have still racked up a few other criminal convictions that we know of:-

- In 2002-3 season an Old Surrey rider was convicted of not having a car licence.
- In 1999-2000 season, an follower punched a female League Against Cruel Sports monitor in the mouth and broke her video camera. He was ordered to pay £550 compensation. 

- In 1991, following the same 
incident at a cubbing meet where Mark Bycroft assaulted a sab, Nigel Trevithick-Wood, the husband of a JM, was given a 6 month suspended prison sentence for punching a sab in the face and Kenneth Banks, a foot follower, a 12 month one for hitting another sab in the groin.
Sab 'ridden down by redcoat' at Tedworth FH - airlifted to hospital
9-12-12   Bath Hunt Sabs Facebook     A hard day yesterday as we teamed up with sabs from 4 other groups to tackle 2 hunts. Firstly we rocked up at a beagle pack and as soon as the scum noticed us they were on the run in the opposite direction! We followed close on their heels rating their beagles along the way and ran with the hunt back to their hound van. We patrolled the area in 2 vehicles safe in the knowledge the hunt had packed up.
We then headed for The Tedworth Hunt and found them at just after 2pm. As soon as we left our landie we could hear their hounds in cry. We got into the field and within 10 seconds two redcoats rode at a pair of sabs and one was struck to the floor and badly hurt. An air ambulance and vehicle were on the scene within 20 minutes and got our sab off to safety. The disgusting hunt carried on hunting so we stuck with them making sure they didn't get away with much and soon enough they headed back to their kennels with our company. Thankfully, the injured sab is now doing well and is on the mend. Despicable acts like the one the Tedworth Hunt carried out yesterday only serve to make us stronger and more determined to put an end to their bloodlust.

Shocked resident sees North Ledbury hounds chasing fawn across his land
7-12-12    Ledbury Reporter     Hounds on trail of fawn     A CONCERNED West MalvernSavagedalpacaLouis28911.jpg resident was shocked to see a pack of hounds on the trail of a fawn on Tuesday after discovering the animal in his garden. David Sample, of Lower Road, said a huntsman confirmed they were part of the North Ledbury. Hunt but were trying to get the hounds off the trail of the deer. Mr Sample raised concerns that the hunt should not have been on the land and described the incident as "distressing, and a situation that should not be allowed."   The Hunt's joint master, Valerie Allfrey, declined to comment.
POWAperson adds;-   The North Ledbury are not strangers to causing havoc, especially where harassing ruminants is concerned.  In September 2011, their hounds invaded a private paddock at Suckley in Herefordshire and badly savaged some alpacas. 'Hounds Off' liaised with the affected owners, resulting in 170 acres of land being banned to the Hunt. Pic above right shows one of the injured alpacas. 

Assault on sabs case against Mid -Devon FH rider is dropped by the CPS
7-12-12      POWA understands that the Crown Prosecution Service have abandoned theWillChanterRiderMidDevonFH.jpg prosecution of a rider with the Mid-Devon Hunt, Will Chanter.  He was orginally alleged to have assaulted three sabs, causing injuries to all, including black eyes, a sprained wrist and various cuts and bruises.  The incident occurred in March, on Dartmoor.  Sabs claim they were trying to prevent what would have been an illegal dig-out of a fox that the hunt's hounds had chased to ground. An argument ensued and Mr.Chanter [right] was said to have 'lost it' and attacked the sabs.  Statements and film were provided to the police, who decided to proceed with just one, relatively minor, charge of 'assault by battery'. Now even this has been dropped - and Will Chanter must therefore be presumed innocent.
The CPS are apparently claiming that there were problems regarding the rules of evidence concerning the sabs' video recordings of the incident.  POWA cannot know whether these alleged defects really were sufficient to justify abandoning the prosecution or not. This is far from the first time police/CPS have cited such things as reasons not to proceed with cases against hunters.  We would simply observe that getting Devon & Cornwall police and the regional CPS, in particular, to take any effective action against Hunts and hunters, whatever the real reasons may be, often seems to be harder than herding cats.  The recent election of a 'countryside friendly' Conservative as Police and Crime Commissioner seems unlikely to facilitate matters.
In 2009, LACS presented police with monitoring film, which they said was of the Mid-Devon FH, which appeared to show one of the Hunt members uncovering a fox from a rock pile on Dartmoor in which it had been hiding from hounds. The hound pack, riders and other hunters were nearby. The fox is then seen bolting away and being hotly pursued by hounds into the distance. This film, which was later posted online by LACS [but now seems to have disappeared], seemed as close to an 'open and shut' case of illegal hunting as one was ever likely to see. LACS claimed that the police simply sat on the evidence until the six-month time limit had expired, and complained about their handling of the case.

Weston and Banwell JM/Huntsman trial set for 8th April next year

George Milton denied the single charge of illegal hunting put to him at Taunton Magistrates Court on 31st October and will face trial in the spring.  POWA understands that further charges, based on a second day of filming by monitors, have  now been dropped.


..... 28th November - Horrific film of fox kill by Ledbury FH hounds in private garden released

..... 22nd November - 'Guardian angel' monitor rescues young vixen from jaws of Old Berks hounds

..... 22nd November - The hapless Ross Harriers trespass and chase pet cat up a tree

..... 20th November - Sanctuary owners claim they're being terrorised by South Coast fox hunt

..... 20th November - Some Somerset Hunts halted because of equine herpes virus

..... 17th November - N.Yorks policeman filmed explaining why he can't/won't enforce Hunting Act 

..... 16th November - IFAW announces their new 'enhanced' hunt monitoring operation is ready to go

..... 15th November - Ross Harriers JM/Huntsman convicted of racially abusing female sab

..... 14th November - RSPCA alerts public to illegal cub hunting in South West Wales 

..... 13th November - Former Beaufort FH kennelman wins suit blaming them for his hydatidosis

..... 10th November - Sabs claim Sussex hare hunt supporter threw decapitated rabbit at them

..... 5th November - Weston & Banwell JM/Huntsman denies illegal hunting, Trial set for April 2013

..... 3rd November - Beaufort FH hounds filmed chasing fox at their opening meet

..... 3rd November - South Shropshire FH JM Otis Ferry gets 3 year driving ban and fine



Horrific film of fox kill by Ledbury FH hounds in village garden released

28-11-12   HSA Press Release   Horrific fox death filmed by hunt saboteurs    Graphic footage of the Ledbury Hunt killing a fox has today been released. The incident happened on the 23rd November 2012 in a private garden in Eldersfield, Gloucestershire and was captured on film by members of Three Counties and Coventry Hunt saboteurs.
They were sadly too late to rescue the fox, but one did obtain film of the hounds repeatedly savaging the animal for a protracted period, whilst she and a colleague attempted to get the dogs off it.  It is unclear at what point the fox succumbed to its multiple wounds, but when they were able to retrieve the animal from the pack it had been effectively disembowelled.

Footage of the kill, and from beforehand, is being examined by lawyers from the RSPCA to determine if there are grounds for prosecution under the Hunting Act.  Results of a post-mortem are being withheld pending a decision.
This incident is a sad contrast to the events of a week earlier when hunt monitors from POWA saved a fox from the Old Berks Hunt [see separate 'Guardian Angel' story below].

Pics below -  1/    close-up still of fox being savaged by hounds    2/   Ghoulish follower at kill scene












On 3-12-12, BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester featured the incident in their Breakfast Show. The Ledbury FH refused to supply a spokesman, offering just a written statement in their own defence. The presenter interviewed Ian Beaumont, Campaigns Manager for the League Against Sports and Mike Foster, Labour MP for Worcester - who famously brought in a Private Member's Bill that was the first attempt to effect a ban on hunting wild mammals with dogs during the last Labour administration. The presenter, Howard Bentham,  later also spoke to Lee Moon, Press Officer for the Hunt Saboteurs Association. The relevant extracts can be heard here, with a pictorial background of graphic stills from the kill video, which viewers may find disturbing.

29-11-12  Hereford Heckler   Ledbury Hunt filmed killing fox    

It seems that not a weekend goes by without a hunt getting negative press or showing their truly outrageous colours.   A couple of weeks ago we reported on the case of Lee Peters, the huntsman of the Ross Harriers Hunt, who was found guilty of racially abusing a hunt saboteur.  Last week the Hereford Times also reported on he case, yesterday putting their story online.
Last weekend a video appeared on YouTube, showing hunt monitors literally saving a fox from the jaws of hounds.   Now this week, a graphic video has been released showing the hounds of the Ledbury Hunt killing a fox on Friday 23rd November.
A Hunt Saboteurs Association press release on the horrendous incident said:- ... [HSA PPR reprinted by the Heckler, as above]  


7-12-12  Ledbury Reporter   Caught on video - hunt hounds savage fox (WARNING: Graphic footage)    LEDBURY Hunt has strongly denied claims it is deliberately flouting the law by hunting foxes with hounds, after graphic footage was posted on the internet by the Hunt Saboteurs Association.  The footage, now Ledburyfoxkill62311-12.JPGbeing viewed by the RSPCA, shows a pack of hounds tearing into a fox in a private garden at Eldersfield, Gloucestershire, on November 23 – an incident that happened after the Hunt temporarily lost sight of the pack.
But hunt spokesman, former master Donald Haden said: “There is no evidence that the hounds killed the fox. The probability is, they did.”  However, Mr Haden said the fox appeared to be already dead on the footage, and sometimes hounds may come across a dead fox in a hedgerow, such as one that had been shot previously.  Calling the incident an accident, he said: “There is no evidence of illegal hunting”, and he said it was the Hunt itself which first contacted the police, about 15 minutes later.  By law hunts are allowed to follow a pre-set trail but not actively hunt foxes.  Mr Haden said the hounds had been following an artificially laid trail and were out of sight at the time.  When asked if this was acceptable practice, he said: “It is the huntsman’s professional job to keep in touch with the hounds, but in the countryside that is not always possible.  TheLedburyfoxkill1123-11-12.JPG hounds can scream away in seconds.”  Mr Haden said he “absolutely refuted” claims by the Hunt Saboteurs Association that the Ledbury Hunt was flouting the law on hunting with dogs by deliberately targeting foxes.  Mr Haden said the hunt goes out about 50 times a year and on average only a handful of foxes are killed by the hunt accidentally each year.
Lee Moon, spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, said: “They are trying to fudge the issue. They are claiming it was an accident, which we do not believe. The actual kill is in the video.
They are flouting the law, absolutely – the reason being the police does not enforce the act and the act is full of loopholes.”   A Hunt Saboteurs press release states: “Footage of the kill,  and from beforehand, is being examined by lawyers from the RSPCA to determine if there are grounds for prosecution under the Hunting Act.”   RSPCA press spokesperson Helen Coen said: “We have been made aware of the footage and are currently looking into it.”

'Guardian angel' monitor rescues young fox from jaws of Old Berks hounds
FoxrescuedfromOldBerksmenacedbyhounds14-11-12.JPGFootage of dramatic rescue can be seen on You Tube

22-11-12    Press Release
A young vixen owes her life to the quick thinking and courage of a hunt monitor who literally dived in and grabbed her from amongst the hounds that were just about to maul her to death.
The young woman was out monitoring the 
Old Berks Fox Hounds last Wednesday, 14th November. The Hunt met at Elmwood House, Black Bourton in Oxfordshire. Not long after the hunt moved off , the Huntsman sent the hound pack into woodland and thick undergrowth. Just after 11.30 am, the hounds found the fox in scrub next to large slurry tanks on the edge of a farm.
Fortunately for the fox, her "guardian angel" was only feet away. With no thought for her own safety, the monitor shouted at the hounds as they closed in on the fox, and running forward, was able to snatch the terrified animal.  SheFoxrescuedfromOldBerksbeingattackedbyhounds14-11-12.JPG then scooped her up, away from amongst the hounds, which would in moments have undoubtedly torn the young animal to pieces.  The fox had already been bowled over onto her back, leaving her stomach exposed.  Despite having been bitten by the terrified fox, the monitor hurried the traumatised animal away, cradled in her arms, whilst her colleague, who filmed the whole incident, called for help.  Being followed by a Hunt participant, they reached a fellow monitor's car and the fox was then driven away to safety.  She was checked for injuries, and thanks to the monitor's lightning reactions, was found to have no serious bites.
The fox's rescuer (who wishes to remain anonymous) said of her actions:- “I just reacted. I couldn't leave the poor little thing to be torn apart by the dogs. But it was worth all the pain and stress and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I feel privileged to have been able to rescue her. Words cannot express my contempt for people who terrify and kill defenceless wild animals."
FoxbeingrescuedbymonitorfromOldBerkshounds14-11-12.JPGThe fox has now been rehabilitated into an area where she will be safe from the hunt. The footage clearly shows that when the hounds reach the fox, there is no "quick nip to the back of the neck", as claimed by hunters, a claim always disputed by post mortem evidence of foxes killed by hounds.  
The incident has been reported to the RSPCA.
Additional information:-
All hunt monitors mentioned above are Associates of Protect Our Wild Animals. 
POWA campaigns for significant strengthening of the Hunting Act 2004, both to deter hunters from bending and breaking the spirit and letter of the law and to make it much easier to enforce. POWA fully supports the work of hunt monitors, but neither employs nor commissions them.
The Prime Minister's wife Samantha Cameron has links with the Old Berks Hunt. Her stepfather, Lord Astor, is Chairman of the hunt. Lord Astor married Mrs Cameron’s mother in 1976 after her divorce from Sir Reginald Sheffield.
David Cameron is believed to have first ridden to hounds with the Old Berks, many years ago. He is now associated mainly with another Oxfordshire Hunt, the Heythrop. The Heythrop, and four of its members, are facing over forty charges of illegal hunting in a case brought by the RSPCA, scheduled to begin on December 17th. Mr. Cameron has pledged to try to repeal the Hunting Act.

Remarkable and clear film of the incident was obtained by both monitors.FoxrescuedfromOldBerkshoundsbeingcarriedtosafety14-11-12.JPG
The YouTube video gained almost 10,000 views in its first 24 hours.
Hunt riders, including the Huntsman, and foot followers were very close to the scene.
Pics above illustrate the sequence of events:-
Upper left - The young fox being menaced by the lead hounds
Upper right - Hounds attacking the fox after bowling it over
Lower left - Immediately after, monitor rescues the fox having rated the hounds off it
Lower right - Monitor  carrying the terrified fox to safety

22-11-12   BBC News Online – Oxford      Oxfordshire anti hunt campaigners film fox with hounds     Anti hunt campaigners have filmed footage of themselves retrieving a fox from a group of hounds during a hunt in Oxfordshire.  The hunt monitors, lead by Judy Gilbert, said if they had not been there the dogs would have killed the fox.  In a statement, the Old Berkshire hunt said no foxes were hunted on 14 November when the footage was filmed, and rejected any suggestion that it broke the law.  It added: "A fox appeared in a farmyard with five stray hounds and was jumped on by animal rights activists."  [Video]

Trouble-ridden Ross Harriers trespass and chase pet cat up a tree
Landowner alleges further invasion of his woodland by RH since
22-11-12  The Forester    Pet cat ran for its life as hounds gave chase     A hunt has been accused of terrorising a family pet days after its master was convicted of racially harassing a protester.   Dad William Ricks claims Ross Harrier hounds chased daughter Anna's cat after coming out of the Forest of CatMinnachasedbyRossHarrierscradledbyAnnaRicks.jpgDean and onto his land on Saturday.   Five hours later the cat Minna [left, cradled by Anna Ricks] was found cowering 30ft up a tree in the middle of the woods.  He has complained to police and the Forestry Commission about the incident last Saturday.
On Thursday, Harrier’s hunt master David Lee Peters was found guilty of using racially abusive words to a protester sitting in her car.  He was fined £720, and ordered to pay his victim £200 compensation.  He was in charge of the pack when Mr Ricks claims dogs ran into his garden from adjoining Bailey Inclosure.  “The cat legged it into the woods chased by around six or eight baying hounds,” he said.  “It was running for its life. You can imagine how terrifying it must have been for the young cat to be pursued by a pack of hounds in full cry.”  He said the family and several neighbours spent more than five hours looking for Norwegian Forest cat Minna.  “We prepared ourselves for the worse because we thought she might have been ripped to shreds,” he said.  “In the end she was shaken but fine because she could scramble up the tree away from the hounds.”  He reported it to the police and the Forestry Commission.  “Whatever people think about hunting in principle, I feel very strongly that the hunt should be stopped from riding roughshod over local residents and allowing their hounds to enter residential gardens and terrorise domestic animals,” he said.
West Mercia Police confirrmed officers were called to Hope Mansell after a complaint about dogs from a hunt being on the land of local residents.  A spokesman said: “Officers established that no criminal offences had been committed. Words of advice were given to both hunt members and the landowners.”
Nationally, the Forestry Commission allows trail or drag hunting, but not fox hunting on its land.  Only Cotswold Vale Hunt has permits for Lea Bailey two days this season and Deputy Surveyor Kevin Stannard has asked the Harriers for an explanation.  Hunt spokesman Anna Ernsting said: “The Ross Harriers regret that hounds were able to freely access gardens from farm land where we had permission to be. Letters have already been sent to the residents and we will inform them in advance should we be in the area again. We are not the only hunt in the area.”

10-12-12   Hereford Times   Anger after hunt hounds chase cat though family garden    POLICE were called after hounds from a Herefordshire hunt ran through a family garden and chased a pet cat. William Ricks, who lives at Hope Mansell, has called for hunts to stop “riding roughshod over local residents” after hounds from the 
Ross Harriers entered his private garden....  William said: “Whatever people think about hunting in principle, I feel very strongly that the hunt should be stopped from riding roughshod over local residents and allowing their hounds to enter residential gardens and terrorise domestic animals.”
 Anna Ernsting, Hunt Master of the Ross Harriers, told the 
Hereford Times  the hounds did unexpectedly run into woods on November 17.  
We understand Mr Rick’s garden is not fenced and his cat presumably took the best possible action if it sensed danger, although, in our opinion, the hounds did not hunt or injure the cat.” 
After receiving a card from Ms Ernsting on November 21 – in which she said “should we be in the area again we will let you know well in advance in case you may wish to keep your cat inside” – the Ricks hoped the ordeal was over.  But, William claims, just a few days later on November 24 the hounds were in the family’s woodland which is home to wild hare, deer and badgers.  Ms Ernsting said the dogs were this time returning from exercise when they came across a fresh scent and ran through an open gate into woods.  She does not, however, believe it was the Ricks’ wood.  
The hounds are exercised regularly along this stretch of road and local residents will know that there has never been any problems with any pets or farm stock.” said Ms Ernsting.  
The Ross Harriers take everyRossHarriersJMandhuntsmanaccusedofvileracistremarkstsabs1-12.jpg precaution to hunt within the law at all times and are very grateful to the landowners who permit us to cross their land. 
However we do appreciate that we are not welcome by all and do bear this in mind. The master huntsman states that this was the first time this has happened in the three years he has been in charge of the hounds.”
A spokesman for West Mercia 
Police confirmed that the force received a call to Hope Mansell on November 17 about hounds chasing a cat on private land and an officer advised the caller it was a civil issue.

POWAperson comments;-   The 'master huntsman' referred to by Ms Ernsting above is presumably Mr. Lee Peters, the recently convicted racist.  What organisation other than a Hunt would think it was acceptable to leave someone who had so utterly disgraced himself, his employer and his 'profession' in post?  Not that the Harriers need much more showing up, when they hunt close to the legal knuckle, invade others' property and chase their pets and have supporters convicted of violent offences. If local people, especially celebrity followers like the 'Top Gear' presenter Richard Hammond, would simply deny the Harriers access to their land and cease to support, them they would find things much harder and, hopefully, modify their behaviour, and, hopefully, their personnel.  Peters is pictured above,  in January, with police - to whom he had, reportedly, earlier said he was 'too busy' to speak when they wanted to discuss the accusation of racist abuse that had been made against him.

Sanctuary owners claim they're being terrorised by South Coast fox hunt

20-11-12   HSA Press Release    Local Hunt terrorises landowners  Volunteers for a fox rescue project are being harrassed and terrorised by their local hunt, believed to be the East Sussex and Romney Marsh [right].  On Saturday 17th of November they were walking their 15 year old blind dog on their land in Trolliloes, East Sussex, when they saw a pack of hounds chasing a young fawn. The fawn was inches from the hounds jaws andE.SussexandRomneyMarshFHBoxingDaymeet.jpg was swerving desperately to keep away from them. The hounds briefly had the deer on the ground but luckily it managed to get back up and fled across the property's boundary. During the chase the hounds knocked over the old dog and it fled in distress.
When members of the hunt arrived on the scene they were abusive to the landowners and tried to run them down with horses and vehicles.  The police were called but claimed they were too busy to attend the incident.  This is the latest in a series of incidents including dead animals left on their property, repeated trespass and threats of arson.  The landowners have had it made clear to them that their ongoing work with animal charities and rehabilitation of wildlife has made them a target for the Hunt.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: " For the hunt to so blatantly target land that is purposely kept for animals to take sanctuary, and for the landowners to be treated in this way, is indicative of the mind-set of these people. They have no respect or regard for anyone but themselves"

POWAperson comments:-   Assuming the report is correct, this is by far from the first time that hunters have menaced local sanctuaries or nature reserves, and their owners, either deliberately or in their arrogant recklessness.  Many other landowners are invaded each year, with property being damaged and pets and livestock chased, injured or even killed.  We cannot be sure the Hunt concerned here is the ES & RM.   But they seem to have some recent 'form' for havoc.  In 2011, the League Against Cruel Sports stated that the Hunt had been so out of control on Forestry Commission land the previous season that Commission staff revoked their licence.  It appears they had caused similar problems the previous season, but then the Commission trusted the MFHA to curb them by having a 'quiet word'.  The MFHA are hardly noted for their strict disciplinary control over misbehaving member Hunts.  Indeed, it is rare for them to take any action in response to complaints.

Some Somerset Hunts halted because of equine herpes virus

20-11-12   BBC News Online     Somerset hunts postponed over equine herpes virus     Hunts in Somerset have been cancelled due to fears of a virus affecting horses in the region. Equine herpes virus (EHV-1) can cause inflammation of blood vessels in the spinal cord or brain.    Exmoor Foxhounds, Devon and Somerset Staghounds and Dulverton and West Fox Hounds have all cancelled this week's hunts as a precaution.  It comes as a stables in Devon was voluntarily quarantined after its horses developed the disease.  EHV-1 can be transmitted through the air from respiratory infection or by close contact between horses and, although it can be treated, in some cases it can be fatal.
Sir Richard Peek, chairman of Exmoor Foxhounds, said:  "Until we know how this is going on, we thought it would be sensible to stay quiet for a couple of days and find out when the quarantined period has gone past and we might be able to go on again."  He said they were not intending to stop for very long.  "It doesn't seem right to be taking horses and hounds across ground where people might be unhappy that there might be a disease about," he added.   UPDATE - the suspensions lasted just one week.

POWAperson comments:-  Nice to see some Hunts behaving responsibly for once. Several Hunts were repeatedly filmed breaking biosecurity regulations after they were allowed to resume hunting in the wake of the 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic.  Indeed, they don't usually seem concerned about their potential for spreading whatever diseases, including the potentially human-fatal hydatid disease, which can arise from poor feeding practices with hounds, possibly, bovine Tb, and now ash dieback, for which, given the amount they travel from wood to wood over large distances, they are surely a serious likely vector.  DEFRA, however, surprise, surprise, have given Hunts the OK to carry on charging all over the countryside regardless.

North Yorks policeman explains why he can't/won't enforce the Hunting Act 

17-11-12     A short film clip has been uploaded to You Tube by 'Somersab'.   It features the police officer, at a meet of the York and Ainsty South FH, stating the problems he has acting against Hunts who look as though they may be hunting illegally.    Among other things, he says   "You and I both know what goes on.  Now I know, if it's a drag hunt, they're saying it's a drag hunt, and I know sometimes they go out it isn't always a drag hunt, but until the law gets changed there isn't an awful lot we can do with it.  I tell you, it's an arse sometimes..... "

POWAperson comments:-   This officer's words aptly illustrate the 'double whammy' Hunts enjoy from the manifold weaknesses of the Hunting Act itself, acting in a negative feedback loop with the clear reluctance some Forces and individual officers evidently have to even try to enforce it.  The Act's deficiencies often give the authorities an excuse not to act, or even to fail to respond at all adequately to complaints, whether this reluctance stems from an unreadiness to get involved in difficult, controversial cases that might just upset some powerful people, or whether they might not personally support the ban and may be allowing this to influence their judgement and attitudes towards sabs and monitors.   It can be hard to tell which attitude you are dealing with.  Though, in this Officer's case, and for their part, Sheffield sabs, who seem to know him of old, are in little doubt which category he falls into, writing on their own Facebook page that  '....This cop is a nasty piece of work - he lies about sabs, says he shoots "vermin", and as can be seen, he loves the sound of his own voice! He's one of the officers we have a case against for corrupt policing at the moment.'    Well, good luck with that sabs.  I expect he loves you too, but cop/sab is rarely a marriage made in heaven.

IFAW announces new 'enhanced' hunt monitoring programme ready to go
16-11-12    IFAW website    [by Jorge Casmitjana, Campaigns and Enforcement Officer IFAW UK]  
November brings the dark spectre of fox hunting season, and with it new enhanced monitoring     
Every year November brings something else to the British countryside than just darker IFAWlogo.jpgevenings.... If you are a fox in an area where illegal foxhunting may take place, it also brings the dark spectre of the “hunting season”. It is not that foxes are safe before that, as the “cub hunting” season already started a few weeks earlier, allegedly to train young hounds to chase foxes, though hunts will deny that. They will say that since the Hunting Act 2004 was enacted, cub hunting does not happen anymore, and that during the hunting season no foxes are hunted by any organised hunt… unless “accidents” happen.
There have been several successful convictions on Hunting Act offences (over 180 already), but the number of allegations of illegal hunting made by members of the public and experts on the subject are far more numerous.   We believe that not enough of these have been investigated, and not enough illegal hunters have been prosecuted.  This is why, in 2005, International Fund for Animal Welfare, together with other like-minded organisations, decided to monitor hunts’ activities and gather evidence to help prosecutions.   This was essential as hunts were clearly defying the new law of the landJordiCastimajanaIFAW.jpg, and in fact continue to do so whilst also calling for its repeal.  We have been “hunt monitoring” ever since, but we have seen slow progress by prosecuting agencies in taking the available evidence to its final conclusion.
In essence, we believe that the Hunting Act is not being enforced as it should.  Whether this is because neither the police nor the Crown Prosecution Service in the areas we operate are very enthusiastic about enforcing the Hunting Act, or for other reasons, the fact remains that whilst straightforward “monitoring” has had some success, we would like to see more and ultimately the eradication of illegal hunting.
This is why this season we decided to do something else: “Enhanced monitoring”.  By stepping up our hunt monitoring work, we are aiming to increase the number of prosecutions under the Hunting Act.  This means getting the latest State of the Art equipment, more cameras, and more people to operate them.  We are improving the way we present the evidence to those that have to take the case forward and are developing better evidence gathering techniques. We are also diversifying our team of Wildlife Crime Investigators, (which now includes ex-police officers, electronic engineers, professional investigators, wildlife crime experts, etc.) and are developing new tactics and strengthening our methods. We can already say that we have moved to the next level, and IFAW’s Enhanced Monitoring is a reality, not just an aspiration.
However, the logistics of our new team are far more complex and challenging and the whole operation is also more expensive. We are having to work longer, and work harder, still under the same harsh conditions of the British winter and the hostile environment created by the hunts and their supporters. This is what drives us: dedication, endurance, perseverance, and never forgetting who we are working for: for those foxes, deer and hares who are still chased and killed in the countryside, despite the fact that most of the nation has clearly decided that this should not happen anymore.

POWAperson says:-  POWA yields to none in its support and admiration for hunt monitors, who do a fantastic, arduous, usually frustrating,  frequently dangerous job, often for no reward.   So, it is great news that IFAW is beefing up its monitoring operations and we wish them safety  and success.
But, much as we would love to be proved wrong, it remains POWA's position that it is unlikely that the fanatics of the hunting community will be adequately restrained by more monitoring, or even an increased number of successful prosecutions. We still believe it necessary for the Hunting Act itself to be substantially strengthened and its sanctions enhanced, both to increase its deterrent effect and to make it easier to enforce.  We would therefore like to see the major anti-hunting organisations openly campaigning for this [though, clearly, the current Government would not grant it!].
And, much as we are loath to agree with the CA about anything, it would be nice if the 'Big Three' would stop disingenuously quoting the total number of Hunting Act convictions. We all know that the vast majority of these have indeed been for 'poaching type offences, which were already unlawful before the 2004 hunting 'ban'.  It is liable to give the impression that the Hunting Act has been far more effective in bringing transgressive organised Hunts to book than it actually has.


Ross Harriers JM/Huntsman convicted of racially abusing female sab
Second charge of using threatening words to another sab also proved

15-11-12   BBC News Online     Ross Harriers hunt master guilty of racially abusing protester    A hunt master has been found guilty at Hereford Magistrates' Court of racially abusing and threatening a protester.   David Lee Peters, from Coughton, Ross-on-Wye, RossHarriersJMLeePetersatCourtfacingracialabusecharge.jpgwas fined £720, and ordered to pay his victim £200 compensation.   The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the the offence took place on 7 January when the Ross Harriers Hunt met at Aston Crew in Herefordshire.   The CPS said 33-year-old Peters used "racially abusive words" to a protester who was sitting in her car.
Colin Molloy, from the CPS, said: "This type of language or behaviour will not and should not be tolerated by anyone." He said people from all communities had a right to be protected from "the prejudice at the root of racist or hate crime". Peters had denied charges of using threatening, abusive or insulting words and disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

The BBC story above omitted the most significant financial penalty, as Peters had to pay £2000 prosecution costs. This is not, though, a 'fine', as the Mirror piece below suggests.

Daily Mirror
   Fined £3,000: Hunt master found guilty of hurling racist abuse at black protester     A hunt master was yesterday fined nearly £3,000 for calling a black protester a “f***ing w**”.  Ross Harriers hunt chief David Lee Peters, 33, launched the tirade at Hiba Hassan as she sat with a group of saboteurs in a 4x4 vehicle. At Hereford magistrates court, the married dad of one, from Ross-on-Wye, was convicted of racially aggravated harassment.  Witness Robert Muncey had said: “He yelled to riders behind, ‘They’ve got a f****** w** in here’.” 

16-11-12  Ledbury Reporter   Ross Harriers hunt master found guilty of racially abusing hunt protester    A HUNTSMAN has been found guilty of racially abusing a protestor at a hunt near Ross-on-Wye.   David Lee Peters, who is the master of the Ross Harriers Hunt, called a black woman “a wog” during a meet in Aston Crews in January. The 33-year-old, from Coughton, was also found guilty of using threatening words towards another protester at the same hunt........

POWAperson comments:  Peters' conviction for racist abuse illustrates the mind-set of hunters, which often seems replete with bigoted attitudes generally. Last December, Alan Morgan, the huntsman of the Cotswold Vale Farmers FH was similarly convicted of racially abusing a sab. Earlier this year, POWA Associate Judy Gilbert posted on YouTube a video of Heythrop FH supporter 'Jim French' spouting vile racist invective, including the 'n' word, during a meet.    POWA now has records of 311 persons from organised Hunts convicted or cautioned since 1990, having committed at least 440 offences between them.
In keeping with POWA's no censorship policy, the derogatory words and curses asterisked by the Mail in their report below of Day 1 of the trial have been replaced by the actual words used. No offence to any group or person is intended by this.

14-11-12   Daily Mail   Hunt master 'racially abused black anti-blood sports protester calling her a fucking wog'  - Master 'hurled abuse at "saboteurs" who attended meet to voice protest  -  Peters claims he was verbally abused and called 'Welsh sheep shagging cunt'   A Hunt Master hurled racist abuse at a black anti-blood sports protester, calling her a 'fucking wog', a court heard.   David Lee Peters [right, with police in January], 33, hurled insults at a group of ‘saboteurs’ who gathered in 4x4 vehicles to voice their protests at a meet in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, on January 7.   The married father-of-one - who isRossHarriersJMandhuntsmanaccusedofvileracistremarkstosabs1-12.jpg the master of the Ross Harriers hunt - went on to abuse protester Hiba Hassan and call her a fucking wog as he rode past on horseback, JPs were told.  A court heard Peters, also known as Lee, had called police to disperse the protesters who claimed they were monitoring for illegal hunting.  But he was arrested when the anti-hunting group told officers about the alleged racist slur.
Today Peters, from Ross-on-Wye, appeared before Hereford Magistrates Court charged with racially aggravated harassment.  Addressing him prosecutor Michael Taylor said: 'You tried to take a look inside the Land Rover. 'You even went to look in the back and when you saw a black person you shouted out "look there’s a fucking wog in there".  Presumably loud enough to impress the people behind you.'
Giving evidence Ms Hassan told the court she was on her first hunt protest and was left 'upset' by the insult.  She said: 'Mr Peters began banging on the Land Rover and shouting at us.  'I heard him say "you’re going to get it" and he called me a "wog" when he saw me.  He saw me and then he said "they’ve got a fucking wog in there". 
He was aggressive the whole way through. Everyone was in hearing distance. 'I felt very alienated and upset and shocked. I don’t think people use the word ‘wog’ in this day and age.  Less than an hour later the police officer approached me.  They asked me if I had any trouble and if I’d experienced any abusive behaviour from anyone and I said yes I had, I said the hunt master had been abusive towards me.  I was quite upset at the time.'
Witness Robert Muncey told the court he was tending to his garden when the incident occurred. He said:  'The lead rider crouched down as he came passed the Land Rover looking in the cab window.  He then crouched around by the back window.  He yelled out the following to the riders behind him: "Oh look, they’ve got a fucking wog in here".  It was said very loudly in a venomous manner.  I couldn’t believe what I had heard.  I really thought there was going to be trouble.'
Peters admitted shouting some threats towards the group as he passed them on horseback but denied using racist language.  Giving evidence he said:  'I was told that there were ‘sabs’ (saboteurs) present.  The information I had was that they had baseball bats.  I phoned the police and just told them the information I had.  As soon as you’re aware of saboteurs, it’s my duty as a master to inform the police.  We left the pub and went around the bend and there’s some saboteurs to my left hand side just parked up really.  I did not stop because I had the hounds around me.  And I didn’t say those words, I didn’t hear those words.  Then I retraced my steps back up the lane. I  got near enough to the top and one of the saboteurs made a grab for me and had me by the leg trying to get me off the horse.  He called me a "Welsh sheep-shagging cunt.".  I managed to dislodge him and carried on around the bend away from him.  
I weren’t happy because he had tried to have me off the horse. He was running alongside me pointing at me.  I was threatening to keep him away from me.  It was a reaction I had because I was backed into a corner.'       Peters denies racially aggravated harassment. The trial continues.

The trial first day was also covered by the Daily Mirror.
RSPCA alerts public to illegal cub-hunting in South West Wales

15-11-12   Western Mail    Incidents of illegal fox cubbing reported to RSPCA officers Illegal hunting for juvenilefoxes could be taking place in parts of rural Wales, the RSPCA has warned.  Officers in West Wales have said several complaints have been made about FoxjuvenilesreleasedfromLittleFoxesSanctuary.jpgcubbing – the hunting of young foxes to train foxhounds.  They say incidents have been reported in parts of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire and have asked that people report suspected cases.  The Countryside Alliance said there was no evidence to support the claims and have pointed to a lack of arrests or cautions by police.
RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said hunting juvenile foxes could be more difficult to detect than adult hunting as it tends to happen very early in the morning.  “One of the historical reasons behind ‘cubbing’ was to train fox hounds as juveniles are in theory easier to hunt than adults. In order to do this, the hounds were taken out at around 3am or 4am before the cubs have dispersed.  “I have had reports of it happening in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire and I want to remind people that this practice is illegal.”   He said in the last couple of months a number of alleged incidents had been flagged up in the region. While fox cubs are the main target , Mr Hogben said that very often a clearing in woodland is selected and other animals are hunted. It can be the case that any small animal in that area is used as a bait and hunting practice, along with the fox cubs.  It is an unpleasant form of training dogs and something the RSPCA wants to put an end to. The practice is entirely illegal under the Hunting Act 2004.”
The Countryside Alliance's hunting officer Adrian Simpson disputed the RSPCA’s warning and said there had not been a single arrest in West and South Wales since the ban on cubbing was introduced. He said: “These are spurious allegations. Trail hunts are legal and what hunts do.
The police have not made an arrest since the ban came in and there has not been one prosecution. So I’d ask what evidence is there to say otherwise.”......

Pic above left is of 2 juvenile foxes, of the age likely to be victimised in cub hunting. They were released from Little Foxes Sanctuary, in Oxfordshire. The sanctuary is run by POWA Associate Penny Little.  Pic below right is of a young fox allegedly killed at a cubbing meet of the Essex and Suffolk FH in 2007.
14-11-12   Carmarthen Journal
    RSPCA on alert after claims of rogue fox hunts   AN RSPCA inspector is urging the public to be aware of an illegal form of fox hunting he claims could be taking place in West Wales. Keith Hogben said he had recently received several complaints about cubbing — the hunting of young foxes to train foxhounds. Mr Hogben said: "I have had reports of it happening in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire and want to remind people that it is illegal."  However, the Countryside Council for Wales said thereCubkilledatEssexandSuffolkcubbingmeet2007.jpg was no evidence to support the claims. Hunting officer Adrian Simpson said there had not been a single arrest across West and South Wales since the ban on cubbing was introduced.
Mr Hogben told the Journal this week: "It is often done early in the morning and is used to train young hounds."  He added in the last couple months a number of alleged incidents had been reported to him.  However, while fox cubs are the main target, Mr Hogben said that very often a clearing in woodland is selected and not just cubs are hunted.  He added: "It can be the case that any small animal in that area is used as a bait and hunting practice along with the fox cubs.  I want people who spot any such activity to contact the RSPCA immediately.  It is an unpleasant form of training dogs and something the RSPCA wants to put an end to. The practice is now illegal under the Hunting Act 2004."
The work being done by the RSPCA is being backed up by the animal welfare group West Wales Animal Aid.  Chairman David Petersen, of St Clears, said he was concerned about cubbing across the UK.  He said: "We in West Wales Animal Aid are determined that these cruel blood sports are exposed for what they are.  The young hounds are set onto known fox lairs where they scatter the young foxes and kill them, by ripping them apart."  Mr Petersen said he and members of West Wales Animal Aid were vigilant at this time of year and were echoing the RSPCA in trying to raise awareness with the general public.  He said as a group they tried to build up any evidence and work with the RSPCA and police.
Adrian Simpson said there was no evidence to support such claims, adding: "These are spurious allegations and the Countryside Council maintains that they are totally unfounded. Trail hunting is legal and what hunts do. The police have not made one arrest since the ban came in. There has not been one prosecution, so I'd ask what evidence there is to say otherwise?" Contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234999.

Note the mistake in the above article.  Adrian Simpson does not represent the Countryside Council for Wales,  which is the Welsh equivalent of the independent advisory body on the environment, Natural England.  After POWAperson pointed out to the CCW this misascription, which they said had also originally appeared in the Western Mail, he was told their Press Officer was 'hopping mad' about it and demanding an apology. The error was probably the newspaper's, though the CJ journalist concerned insisted to POWA that this was how Mr. Simpson had represented himself to him.     Simpson has been a CA spokesman for several years, but we believe he is the same person who, under the pseudonym 'Daegi' used to write extremely enthusiastic articles about terrier work for blood sport fanatic magazines such as Shooting News.  He was also one of the people arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice in 2008, in connection with Otis Ferry being charged with that offence.  Ferry spent four months on remand, but the CPS eventually decided to drop that case, so presumably the whole thing was another ghastly mistake by the forces of law and order.  Ferry was, however, convicted of causing fear, distress and upset to 2 female hunt monitors, reportedly avoiding conviction for robbery by maintaining he'd intended to return the video camera he'd snatched from the ladies.  Quite the gentleman, our Otis.

POWAperson adds:-   Cub-hunting is one of the vilest aspects of fox hunting, practised usually, and  secretively in the early morning, very difficult and potentially very dangerous to monitor or sab.  It is believed to be still widely practised, even in its traditional 'hold up' form, where a mix of new and experienced hounds are put into a covert known to contain foxes and the wood surrounded by riders and followers who try to turn back any foxes that attempt to escape.  The 'prestigious' Meynell & South Staffs FH were practising this form of cub-hunting when they were covertly filmed by hunt sabs, film that resulted in the conviction of their Chairman [precipitating his resignation] and a terrierman earlier this autumn. 

Former Beaufort FH kennelman wins suit blaming them for his hydatidosis
12-11-12   Yorkshire Post     Worms that turn out to be costly for employer      A LEADING English hunt has paid compensation to a former employee who claimed his liver problems were caused by poor control of tapeworm in the hound pack.  Lawyers have been circulating details as a warning to hunts and farmers who run working dogs.  They point out cattle and sheep could be carrying eggs from the same worms, making stock handlers vulnerable - and also eligible to sue. They quote Defra figures showing more than nine per cent of hounds tested excreted the eggs of Echinococcus granulosus and there was a substantial risk of human handlers picking one up.
Brethertons of Banbury, Oxfordshire, represented Charles Wheeler, who worked 16 years for a "prestigious" Gloucestershire hunt, before moving to a Pacific island to start a fishing business.  He fell ill with serious chest and abdominal pains and was flown to Brisbane, Australia, where his problems were traced to "hydatid cysts", on his liver, caused by the worm eggs.  He recalled the hounds he looked after would eat mainly raw meat and offal from dead sheep, which in turn were likely to have picked up eggs from dog faeces.  The dogs were not wormed regularly, he said, because of financial constraints. The hunt recently settled out of court after five years of legal argument.
Sioban Calcott, a personal injury specialist at Brethertons, said: "It is no longer an excuse to argue that you cannot afford costly worming programmes. The fact of the matter is, you cannot afford not to." Felicity Wyatt, head of Brethertons' agricultural division, said: "The disease is endemic in most of Europe. Sheep are important intermediate hosts, although this is also the case for cattle that graze on pastures contaminated with dog faeces." 

This is the advice to Hunts and farmers with working dogs issued by Mr.Wheeler's solicitors, a firm that has a specialist agricultural division:-

Hound Parasite Creates Increased Risk To Human Health       Hunting with hounds has always proved controversial, but a recent legal case has highlighted increased health risks to humans and prompted calls for more rigorous ‘best practice' worming protocols at all hunt kennels. It is no longer the foxes that are in danger from hunting with hounds - it is now their handlers who face long-term health risks from inadequate worming programmes because of financial constraints, according to DEFRA figures and Brethertons LLP, a law practice with a specialist agricultural team that advised in a recent international case.
The case involved a kennel huntsman of 20 years who contracted hydatid disease leading to the growth of a hydatid cyst on his liver.  This disease is very rarely acquired in the UK.  Hydatid disease occurs when humans inadvertently ingest the excreted eggs of the dog tape worm that can live in the dog's small intestines.   Dogs are infected by eating offal from recovered dead sheep stock that have hydatid cysts.  Sheep in turn acquire hydatid disease from ingestion of dog tapeworm eggs in the paddocks and the cycle of infection continues when dogs eat offal from infected sheep.   The cycle can be broken by frequent worming of dogs to prevent tapeworm egg shedding and ensuring that only properly cooked offal is fed to dogs to prevent infection and re-infection of the dogs. For humans, this disease only requires one microscopic parasite egg to be ingested for the disease to occur.
DEFRA figures reveal an increase in the reporting of Echinococcus granulosus as more than nine per cent of hounds tested were carriers of the intermediate host which equates to a one in five risk to human handlers acquiring the condition.   Its report suggests that since the end of the dog worming programme in the mid-1980s, there is an ‘increasing trend of dog infestation', as illustrated by the case in question that was eventually settled out of court.  The cysts which cause serious chest and abdominal pains can have long-term effects.
The experienced handler had left his 16 year employment at a prestigious English Hunt some years previously to start a new life running a chartered deep sea fishing business in the Pacific Ocean. The Claimant who had to undergo a major operation on his liver, and who now faces the possibility of recurring cysts, had to be flown more than 1000 miles to a hospital in Brisbane, Australia to determine the cause of the illness.
The case took more than five years to resolve, but sends a more immediate healthcare and legal message to hunting kennels, farming and rural-based livestock businesses about the importance of rigorous worming programmes, according to Sioban Calcott, Head of Commercial Litigation at Brethertons, based in Banbury, Oxfordshire.
 "It is not just hounds that carry or play host to the Echinococcus granulosus tape worm. Sheep and cattle tested have also displayed signs of infection which of course could pose a great risk to farm workers, many of whom may seek compensation if they begin to display symptoms themselves.  This could have a devastating effect upon rural businesses that have been impacted by other well-documented livestock health issues in the past," said Calcott, a leading expert in personal injury litigation.
In the case, the huntsman claimed that the hounds would opportunistically eat from carcasses of dead sheep stock on grazing farmland that they crossed whilst being exercised or out hunting.  Perhaps more importantly the hounds' diet consisted of 90 per cent raw meat and uncooked offal. He also repeatedly claimed the hound worming programme was inadequate because of financial constraints imposed upon the hunt, and was not carried out regularly enough.
"The message is clear and simple: put in place and maintain effective worming programmes and keep the records up to date at both your business premises and with your vet. If a suspected case.... is raised, this paper trail will quickly provide the necessary audit to demonstrate that you have acted in the best interest of your livestock and your own workers' health.  It is simple and good practice for all rural businesses.  It is no longer an excuse to argue that you cannot afford costly worming programmes because of the impact upon your business.  Indeed, the fact of the matter is, you cannot afford not to carry out this rigorous regime," added Calcott, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and recognised.... as an expert in her field.
Control measures by kennels and other rural businesses to reduce and potentially eliminate the spread of the disease include worming hounds, regular abattoir inspection of animal carcasses and the rapid disposal of affected stock.   All meat and offal fed to dogs must be properly cooked according to guidelines.

A Sussex hare hunt supporter threw decapitated rabbit at us, say sabs

South Downs Hunt sabs state that at the end of a day during which they had successfully prevented hunting, a supporter in a passing car threw a rabbit corpse at them. 

10-11-12   S.Downs Hunt Sabs blog    Local Hunt Saboteurs today converged on the ‘Brighton Storrington Surrey and North Sussex Beagles’ meet at the Balcombe Estate north of Haywards Heath. Beagle packs hunt hares andRabbitcorpsethrownatsabsbySussexharehuntsupporter10-11-12.jpg fall under the same laws which makes the hunting of foxes with hounds illegal. Unlike fox hunting however hare hunting with beagles is conducted on foot and looks much like a scaled down fox hunt.
From the get go the hunt looked guilty calling the hounds in and taking them for a short walk before calling the police and a few local ‘boys’ to encourage us off the land. However as they realised they would not be hunting today they continued to get more and more frustrated, with a supposed landlord’s agent shouting at and patronising police officers. Once a supposed agent had vented her frustration at police, the hunt eventually heading back to the meet where they called in a couple more ‘boys’ who turned up wearing masks and who might be linked to previous violence against groups at other local bloodsport meets.
Once the hunt had packed up and we were sure no hares would be killed today we left, however whilst chatting in a local car park a decapitated rabbit [right]was thrown at sabs from the window of a speeding small red car who rapidly exited. Actions such as these highlight the disrespect of hunts for wildlife and is a clear act of harassment as well as their frustration.

Weston & Banwell JM/Huntsman trial set for 8th April next year
George Milton denied the single charge of illegal hunting put to him at Taunton Magistrates Court on 31st October and will face trial in the spring.  POWA understands that further charges, based on a second day of filming by monitors, have  now been dropped.

Beaufort FH hounds filmed chasing fox at their opening meet

Four weeks ago, the Mail on Sunday  published an article implicating the Beaufort FH in the brutal slaughter of surplus bull calves at a dairy farm that supplied milk to Cadburys.  The calf corpses were taken away to feed hounds.[this is actually common practice all over the country].    On the morning of 3-11-12, the Mail published a multi-picture feature article about the Beaufort and their opening meet which was virtually an enconium to the Hunt, and which assured readers that they now only hunt 'trails'    That same afternoon,, sabs claim they witnessed at least two 'trails', looking remarkably like foxes, being chased by the Beaufort.  A film clip of hounds pursuing one furry red 'trail' was obtained.  Alas, the video evidence that could be gained would not be adequate to sustain a prosecution for illegal hunting.  There follows that monitor's account, then a PR issued by the HSA. The story was subsequently covered by a local paper [with video online].   

3-11-12    Events of the Duke of Beaufort’s Opening meet from Worcester Lodge, Badminton estate.     We observed proceedings throughout the day and were behind the hunt on foot at the sFoxchasedbyBeaufortFHhounds3-11-12.JPGtart.   Due to low numbers we agreed that the best strategy was to keep a very low profile.   At 16.00 on the Didmarton to Sopworth road we were aware of hounds in full cry from Sopworth Brake.  Hounds ran straight to the village of Sopworth and were seen by us hunting a fox from thick undergrowth.  We rated them and made it clear to the hunt (who were a bit surprised) that we were anti-hunt, that we had the fox being hunted [left] on film and demanded that they call hounds [right] off.   The fox ran through the car supporters and to safety along the road towards Didmarton as the pack went back to hunt another fox through an old tin shed in thick undergrowth and onBeaufortFHhoundschasingfox3-11-12.jpg through the church and village.    We think that they found at Sopworth Brake, that the fox ran to the village and that a fresh fox (the one we helped who, on a wet day, was dry, fluffy and unmuddied) was put up [from cover], splitting the pack.      If the Beaufort hunt were following a trail as they claimed and as, indeed, the Daily Mail claimed how did they lay it through thick undergrowth, through detritus (i.e. tin shed) and then through a residential area?    We are certain that 2 foxes were being chased and that it was only our intervention which helped them escape.     We also are appalled at the naive acceptance by the Daily Mail of this Hunt's blatant falsehoods.    The Beaufort are known as a “premier” pack and acting as though the Hunting Act had never been passed. Meets are advertised both online and in Horse and Hound. 

4-11-12   HSA Press Release      Prestigious Beaufort Hunt chased filming a fox     Hunt saboteurs fiimed the Beaufort hunt illegally hunting a fox during their opening meet......  on Saturday.      The small group of saboteurs kept a low profile throughout the day's hunt until, near the end of the day, they saw the hounds in full cry, hunting a fox, near Sopworth village.    They attempted to call the hounds away from the fox and made it clear to the hunt that they had footage of the illegal hunting.    The fox ran through the car supporters and along the road to safety.   The pack picked up the scent of another fox which they hunted through an old tin shed in thick undergrowth and on through the village.      Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated:   "If the Beaufort hunt were following a trail, as they claimed, then how and why did they lay it through thick undergrowth, underneath an old shed and then through a residential area?   We are certain that 2 foxes were being chased and it was only the intervention of our members which helped them escape.    The reality of a day out with the Beaufort is very different from that portrayed on the Daily Mail's website."

9-11-12   Wilts & Glos Standard      Hunt saboteurs' footage of Beaufort Hunt taking part in 'illegal fox hunting'   HUNT saboteurs have released video footage of what they claim shows illegal fox hunting by the renowned Beaufort Hunt on the weekend. Undercover monitors followed the hunt during their opening meet of the season at Worcester Lodge on the Badminton Estate.     The film, which can be viewed at the Standard’s website, shows the hounds chasing a fox across a field near the Cotswold village of Sopworth. A local hunting monitor, who did want to be named for "fear of retaliation", told the Standard: "Nobody tried to stop the hounds. We had to break our cover to call them off. If we hadn’t been there it would have been killed."      Beaufort hunt spokesman Jo Aldridge said some of the hounds had chased a fox during the hunt, but it was accidental after the fox had crossed the path of a trail, laid legally for the event. She said: "At that particular moment there wasn’t a member of hunt staff nearby, but they did call the hounds off as soon as they could."


South Shropshire FH JM Otis Ferry gets three-year driving ban and fine

3-11-12     Shropshire Star      Shropshire hunt master Otis Ferry banned from road for three years    Shropshire hunt master Otis Ferry [right] has been banned from driving for three years after appearing in court following anOtisFerry.jpg arrest on suspicion of drink-driving.    Ferry has also been ordered to pay a total of £415 in fines and costs after being found guilty of failing to provide a breath sample after the incident in London on January 23 this year. 
He appeared at West London Magistrates Court this week after a warrant was issued for his arrest last week, when he failed to attend the hearing at which he was found guilty in his absence by magistrates.  A spokesman for the court said the 29-year-old son of Roxy Music star Bryan Ferry, who was charged under the name Charles Frederick Ferry, had the opportunity to reduce the length of his driving ban if he sits a specialist motoring course. “He was fined and disqualified for three years from driving,” the spokesman said.    Ferry, master of the South Shropshire Hunt from Eaton Mascott, near Shrewsbury, was given a £200 fine, as well as being ordered to pay £200 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.  He had been stopped by police in the Kensington area in January and failed a roadside breath test.    
Ferry was not available for comment today. In 2008 he spent four months in custody accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to an affray and assault case before the charges were dropped.   In 2004, Ferry was arrested for bursting into the House of Commons as a debate on the hunting bill took place.
POWAperson adds:-  Pity the Court couldn't ban him from riding a horse as well. As far as we know, Ferry has never killed anything while in charge of a motor vehicle.


..... 27th October - Southdown & Eridge FH supporters attack and injure sabs - supporter arrested

..... 27th October - Otis Ferry convicted of fail provide specimen after another drink driving arrest 

..... 27th October - POWA condemns 'sick' CA advice to Hunts to get schools to 'adopt' a hound 

..... 24th October - Ross Harriers supporter fined for assaults caught on camera 

..... 22nd October - Lush stores' fake fox hunts highlight low prioritisation of wildlife crime by police 

..... 11th October - Fox Hunts take fright at recent convictions and enhanced monitoring 

..... 8th October - Zetland FH being investigated by police for illegal fox hunting 

..... 7th October - Beaufort FH, dairy farm and Cadburys implicated in brutal bull calf slaughter 

..... 6th October - Sabs claim were assaulted by Rockwood Harriers - 7 injured, camera stolen 

..... 5th October - Cub-hunting convict Greenall resigns as Chairman of Meynell & S.Staffs FH

..... 2nd October - Hunts mobilised in desperate attempt to save Corby seat for the Conservatives



Southdown & Eridge FH mob attack & injure sabs, says HSA - hunter arrested

27-10-12   HSA Press Release      Hunt supporter Arrested after assault on Hunt  saboteurs    The Southdown and Eridge fox hunt [right, Boxing Day meet 2010] held its opening meet of the season at Firle, nrSouthdownandEridgeparadethroughLewesBoxingDay2010.jpg Lewes, East Sussex, today.  It was clear from the start that they intend to carry on their practice of flaunting the hunting ban and launching organised attacks against any who oppose them.
Slightly east of the meet the huntsman put up a fox and was encouraging the hounds onto the scent.  Before sabs were able to intervene they were subject to an unprovoked attacked by around 10 hunt supporters, the very same men who had been the perpetrators of similar attacks in the past two seasons. The attack left three hunt saboteurs with head wounds and severe bruising which resulted in hospitalisation and stiches.  Their attackers also stole a video camera and glasses.  Following these attacks the sabs were ridden at by members of the hunt, driven at by a car follower and then assaulted by the ‘hunt stewards' while attempting to seek SabattackedbySouthdownandEridgesupportersOctober2009.JPGmedical treatment.  The police were called but said they could not take any action until statements had been taken.
The remaining sabs soon located the hunt on the South Downs, a national park, with the Huntsman off his horse clearly hunting.   Before video evidence could be gathered they were surrounded by four quad bikes carrying the same men who had carried out the earlier assault, and attacked again.  The police were once again called and eventually arrested one hunt supporter.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: "We are pleased that the police eventually arrested one hunt supporter however they should of acted decisively much earlier in the day. The South Down and Eridge should have realised by now that violence doesn't deter our members and in fact only makes them more determined to thwart their illegal activities."

Pic above left is one of two sabs allegedly attacked by a mob of S&E supporters in October 2009. Below is the story as covered by the local paper. It is rare for newspapers to carry accounts of hunter attacks on sabs, though the HSA sends them plenty.

0-10-12   Brighton Argus     Hunt saboteurs: 'Masked men attacked us'     An anti-foxhunting group claims its members were attacked by masked men for trying to spot animal cruelty. Police were called to clashes at the Southdown and Eridge Fox Hunt in Firle, near Lewes, on Saturday in which a number of people were hurt.   One man was arrested on suspicion of assault.  The Hunt Saboteurs Association said three of its supporters had to go to hospital to be treated for head wounds.  It also claimed its video cameras and glasses had been stolen in what it described as an unprovoked attack. 

The group monitors fox hunts in the South East to ensure hunters are abiding by the Hunting Act 2004 - legislation that outlaws the hunting of foxes with dogs.    A spokesman for the Association said: "Three of our members who were filming the hunt were suddenly confronted and then assaulted by between eight to 10 men, some of whom were masked.   All three people were punched to the ground where the men proceeded to kick and beat them."  Matt Fincham, the head of media relations for the Countryside Alliance, said the people involved in the clash had no association with the hunt. 

Sussex Police confirmed they had arrested a 28-year-old man on suspicion of assault.  A force spokesman said: "The man, from Haywards Heath, was arrested around 4pm after an allegation of assault was made following confrontations between hunt protestors and members of the Southdown and Eridge Hunt. Earlier in the day, police had been called to Charleston where two people were treated for injuries by ambulance personnel."   The 28-year-old was questioned before being released on bail until December 3.

A more detailed account of the latest incidents has also been uploaded, including a photo [below, right] of one of the sabs injured during the day;-

27-10-12   South Downs Hunt Sabs   Violent attack on hunt saboteurs leaves two in hospital    At the opening meet of the South Down and Eridge fox hunt.... . Three hunt sabs were attacked and severely beaten by ten hired thugs.  The sabs had been following the hunt at Firle, East Sussex and were in the process of filming them hunting a foxSabattackedbySouthdownandEridgeFHthugs27-10-12.jpg when four cross-country quad bikes loaded with heavies arrived, and, without hesitation, attacked them.   The attackers were all wearing balaclavas and carrying weapons.  They launched a sustained and extremely vicious and attack on the trio.   Outnumbered, they stood no chance of defending themselves, and once on the ground were repeatedly kicked and battered with sticks,  One of the sabs was almost unconscious by the time the attack eventually stopped.  During the assault a video camera containing evidence of illegal hunting was stolen.
Even then their ordeal wasn't over,  Covered in blood and in extreme pain they attempted to make their way back to find the other sabs, who were frantically trying to reach them.  As they tried to leave a driver of one quad bike attempted to run them down, as did one of the horse mounted red coats. They were also attacked a few minutes later by the so-called stewards, hired by the Hunt to monitor the sabs,  This only stopped when other sabs arrived at the scene.  By the time they had managed to reach the road the police and an ambulance had arrived.  The news was worrying, the paramedics at the scene suspected that one activist had a fractured skull and broken ribs (thankfully after x rays and a thorough examination in hospital this turned out not to be true).
Just when we thought that the day couldn't get much worse,  Sussex Police decided to get involved.  In their usual impartial manner.  The thugs, now minus balaclavas,  were pointed out.  Unbelievably one officer asked.. "Well, what do you want us to do about it.?".   The sabs suggested that they should at least take details so they would have something to refer back to later, or maybe conduct a search for the video camera.  The officer's response was..."Well, if you want to come to the station and make a statement...we follow it up later"!!!    Can you imagine, say you'd just been attacked in the street by some drunken thug and the police told you they weren't willing to do anything about it at the moment, whilst that thug stood on the other side of the street gloating..  how would you feel??
......  Well I suppose by now you probably thought that would be the end of the days events,  Sadly it was not as by now the Hunt were in sight - the Huntsman off his horse and clearly hunting the line of a fox.  It was at this point the police decided to leave.   Left in an impossible situation, but knowing the three injured sabs were at least safely away and out of the area, the remaining activists swallowed deep and decided to film these events.  Shortly the hunt thugs were back and spoiling for a fight. They started throwing flints at the sabs and then attacked.  This time, with greater numbers they were able to defend themselves,  But even so one sab received a nasty blow to the face resulting in a black eye and nasty gash.  Again the police were called, and, eventually, a different set of police officers arrived, claiming to have no knowledge of previous events.  Initially they claimed to have been informed by the Hunt that it was they who had been attacked by sabs.  The police then started making noises about arresting the sabs....  Luckily, at this point, some video footage taken by sabs was shown to them and, after a while, one of the thugs was arrested.  This all on the opening meet of the season!!

Otis Ferry convicted of fail to provide specimen after another drink driving arrest

OtisFerryinpolicecustody2005.jpg27-10-12   Daily Mail      Bryan Ferry's son Otis faces driving ban after refusing breath test and insisting he had just had 'a pint at lunch'      Otis Ferry was yesterday found guilty of failing to provide a breath sample after he was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.   The 29-year-old son of singer Bryan Ferry was stopped in the early hours of the morning as he drove a black Mercedes through Kensington, London.   Police became suspicious after noticing the vehicle's rear windows were down and a woman was smoking out of one of them.  When an officer pulled over Ferry - who famously took part in a pro-hunting protest in the Commons in 2004 - he could ‘smell intoxicating liquor'.   The Old Etonian said he had drunk ‘a pint of cider with his lunch'.    Ferry, who is Master of the South Shropshire Hunt, failed a roadside breath test and was taken to a police station where he refused to take a further test.     West London Magistrates' Court heard that Ferry, of Eaton Mascott near Shrewsbury, was ‘argumentative' and ‘refused to comply with simple instructions'.   Sergeant John Longdon told the court: ‘He seemed to believe the incident was amusing.'     
Ferry was not in court yesterday but was found guilty by Deputy District Judge John Greaves.  He will be sentenced at a later date.   Failure to provide a breath sample carries a maximum fine of £5,000 and a minimum driving ban of one year.

POWAperson adds:- This is the sixth separate conviction or police caution that Ferry is known by POWA to have acquired, two more than any other hunter for whom we have records. He was convicted of drink-driving way over the limit a couple of years ago, but magistrates astonishingly gave him the benefit of the doubt - when a mate claimed he had spiked Ferry's drinks for a laugh - and didn't ban Otis from driving. He is unlikely to escape that this time.   He may have to shell out for a chauffeur, poor lamb.    Ferry is, of course, one of the most fanatical of pro-hunters - and a fine representative of the breed.  Pic left above shows an earlier encounter of Otis' with the boys in blue.

POWA condemns CA advice to Hunts to get schools to 'adopt' a hound

POWA has responded to news that the Countryside Alliance is advising Hunts to inveigle their way into schools to 'educate' the pupils - and, in particular, suggesting they should try to get schools to 'adopt' a hound - with a scathing Press Release. The Western Morning News 29-10-12 and the Western Daily Press 30-10 both quoted extensively from the POWA PR in their story. The original, D.Telegraph, news story and the Release follow:-

27-10-12  Daily Telegraph   Schools encouraged to adopt a hound    Schools are being encouraged to "adopt a hound" as part of a new drive by the hunting lobby to educate children about the sport.     The Countryside Alliance has issued new advice packs to around 200 hunts with a number of suggestions on how to engage people with hunting. The idea is to educate people about hunting with dogs so that they support a repeal of the Hunting Act, which is due to be voted on in Parliament.  The huntsmen, who look BarneyWhite-Spunner.jpgafter the hounds, are being encouraged to promote the hunt within the community by forming a relationship with the local school.
Ideas include ‘twinning' a hound with a local school. Photographs of the hound could be given to the school and there could even be a visit.  The CA also encourages arranging school visits to the kennels and involving children in the work of the huntsmen, who need volunteers to help walk, feed and muck out the hounds. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has promised a free vote on the repeal of the Hunting Act during this Parliament.
Lt Gen Barney White-Spunner [left], Executive Chairman of the Countryside Alliance, said supporters have to start explaining and defending hunting now so MPs can feel confident to vote for repeal. "Welcoming newcomers to hunting, as well as promoting hunting activities to local communities, is vital to the sustainability of hunting."
Hunts have recently been targeted by saboteurs, following the badger cull.    Lt Gen White Spunner was confident that the public can be persuaded to support repeal. "We cannot expect hunting to be top of the Government's priorities at a time like this, but tackling the failed Hunting Act is a matter of trust between the Government and the countryside."
However Emma Thomas, Senior Media Relations Officer for the League Against Cruel Sports, said most of the public are already against hunting. She questioned whether parents or schools will want to "adopt a hound." Already there have been reports of parents taking children out of schools in protest at shooting days.

27-10-12    POWA Press Release
     Wildlife Protection organisation condemns 'sick' Countryside Alliance advice urging Hunts to get local schools to 'adopt' a hound      Protect Our Wild Animals [POWA] has today reacted with revulsion to news that the Countryside Alliance is urging Hunts to try to get their local schools to 'adopt' a hound, as a means of promoting their 'sport'.      Spokesman Alan Kirby said:-     "Presumably the Hunts, if they are theHoundshotdeadbyUKfoxhunt.jpg 'decent and honest' people that DEFRA Secretary of State [and avid promoter of wildlife killing] Owen Paterson once described them as*, will tell the kiddies about how they start culling the hounds they breed very early in their lives, should they have any defect of character or physique that might make them unfit to hunt well with the pack.   They will want to detail how they intensify this winnowing process when young hounds are first trained to kill wildlife in cubbing, etc.  so that any disinclined to show the necessary savagery, or that 'babble', 'run mute', chase non-target quarry or commit any of a host of other 'crimes' will likely get a bullet in the head,  and how they remain liable to this fate if they go similarly astray at any time in their short hunting 'careers'.
Hunts will surely honestly reveal to the schools how hounds are liable to be similarly disposed of should they become seriously ill or injured, and, finally, how, when the dogs reach six or seven - half their natural span - and are getting a bit slow, the great majority are rewarded for their loyal service with a quick execution round the back of the kennels and a trip to the incinerator.
Of all their propaganda,   Huntsmen's protestations of 'love' for their hounds are surely the most vomit-inducing.   In reality, the dogs are nothing more than disposable tools of the trade to them.   POWA calculations indicate that UK Hunts must kill - deliberately - between 5 and 7 thousand of their own hounds every year.
Somehow, we doubt that many children - those not already brainwashed into blood-lust, at least - would find these truths too palatable.  Are there no stunts too sick for the killers-for-fun of the bloodsports fraternity to come up with in their desperation to preserve and promote their cruel and barbaric 'sport'?  If they really wish to gain public acceptance, they should abandon not just their obnoxious attempts to relegalise live quarry hunting for fun, but give up 'cynical subterfuges**', such as 'trail hunting', by which many seek to avoid prosecution while they continue to chase and kill wildlife much as they did before the long-overdue Hunting Act 2004.
Until they sincerely and transparently do so, POWA will continue to call for the Act to be strengthened to fully achieve the ban on hunting wild mammals with dogs which has such overwhelming public support."

Notes for editors:-
* The Daily Mail reported on a Commons debate on the Hunting Bill in 2001 -  "During the debate one Tory, Owen Paterson, likened supporters of the legislation to Nazis. He claimed only 'honest, decent' people went hunting ... "    Nb. POWA knows of over 300 followers of organised Hunts who have been convicted/ cautioned for criminal offences, almost all hunting-related, since 1990.  About half of these were Hunt staff or officials.
** 'Cynical subterfuge':  How Judge Pert scornfully described the attempts by the Huntsman and terrierman of the Fernie Hunt to pretend they had simply been 'trail hunting', when dismissing their appeals against conviction for illegal hunting and interfering with a badger sett, on 14-10-11 [Harborough Mail].  Judges in subsequent cases, eg. the Crawley & Horsham FH and the Meynell FH, have since remarked on hunter evidence in similar terms.
- An article on how Hunts treat their hounds, with calculations, based on information from the Hunts themselves, as to how many hounds UK hunts kill each year, can be found elsewhere on the POWA website.

Ross Harriers supporter fined after attack on sabs caught on camera

PaulStandenRossHarriers.jpg24-10-12   HSA Press Release     Hunt supporter pleads guilty to saboteur assault     Paul Standen [left], a supporter of the Ross Harriers Hunt, pleaded guilty today to assaulting two hunt saboteurs.   Standen, who was on trial at Hereford Magistrates Court, had to pay a fine, costs and compensation.   The incident occurred in March this year when the Ross Harriers met at Kilpeck near Hereford.  Standen drove his vehicle at a group of saboteurs before jumping out and violently pushing a female out of the way before punching another member of the group in the face.   Unfortunately for him the whole attack was filmed and he was arrested.     Lee Peters, Master of the hunt, is also in court next month for racially abusing a hunt saboteur.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: "It is always a pleasure to see justice done, however we wish Mr. Standen had done the honourable thing and pleaded guilty much earlier in the proceedings and saved the tax payer a great deal of money. We look forward to a similar result next month, when Mr. Peters is in court, and we hope the Ross Harriers will start to realise they are not above the law." 

POWAperson adds;-  This Hunt is fast acquiring a highly unsavoury reputation.  Another alleged incident of assaultRichardHammondwithRossHarriers.jpg on the same day, in which a different sab was reportedly injured, appears not to have been prosecuted.  The alleged racial abuse incident, soon coming to trial, was vividly reported by the Daily Mail in January.  Whilst excoriating the sabs generally, JM Lee Peters is said to have exclaimed 'fucking wog' when he spotted a black female sab in a Landy.  Allegedly, when Peters was told police wanted to speak to him about the matter, he sent back word that he was 'too busy' !   One of the Ross Harrier's most prominent known supporters [seen with them, right] is the broadcaster Richard Hammond, who presents 'Top Gear' with that other well-known hunt enthusiast, and member of the 'Chipping Norton set', Jeremy Clarkson.  Hammond has apparently often entertained the Harriers' at his country pad.  However, a recent rumour - apparently originating from a hunt source - suggests his enthusiasm for hunting may have been dented. That rumour goes as follows;-  ".... the Cotswold Vale Hunt killed Top Gear presenter, Richard Hammond's cat last week. Our sources tell us that the hunt's hounds got on to Hammonds property, killed the cat, and attacked a pony with such ferocity that it had to be cut out of the fence that they forced it into.  Hammond regularly hosts meets of the Ross Harriers and his wife, Mindy, rides with the Ledbury.  They're said to be furious about the incident.... "     

POWA has no means of ascertaining the veracity of this account and would be happy to publish any statement from any of the parties allegedly involved, whether confirming or denying the rumour. 


Lush fake fox hunts highlight low priority given to wildlife crime by police

During the week, staff of cruelty-free cosmetics chain Lush staged fake fox hunts outside their stores. The stunts, in collaboration with the Hunt Saboteurs Association, drew attention to the lack of resourcing and priority given by police to wildlife crime - and asking people to challenge their candidates in the Police & Crime Commissioner elections on November 15th to pledge to remedy this.

25-10-12   Swindon Advertiser     Lush staff on the hunt for justice      STAFF at the cosmetics shop Lush Lushfakefoxhunt22-10-12.jpgdressed up as foxes and animal rights protesters to raise awareness of wildlife crime.    Staff, supported by the Hunt Saboteurs' Association, staged a mock hunt in Canal Walk with staff dressed as foxes and as animal rights protesters chased around the high street by staff dressed as police officers.      Tuesday's protest was organised ahead of next month's Police Commissioners' Elections and they were also handing out leaflets and getting people to sign petitions on the day. Christina Carvajal, the manager of Lush Swindon, said: ‘We believe that, like us, most of the British public would feel money is better spent protecting animals from cruelty, death and extinction, instead of gathering evidence on peace protests and environmental camps. When the newly elected Police Commissioners are setting budgets and priorities, they should reflect the concerns of the public and society they serve. The event went really well, with people coming and asking questions and we were also handing out leaflets on the day with more information for them."

Helen Ascott of the Hunt Saboteurs Association said: "It is shocking that wildlife crime is such a low policing priority, 76 per cent of the public supports the ban on hunting and yet, week after week we face hunts who are hunting illegally. We believe it is madness to spend money on policing sabs when the real law breakers are getting away with it and we hope the incoming Police Commissioners will take on board the public's concerns around these issues."

24-10-12   The Press [York]     Fox-hunting protesters stage hunt in Coney Street      FOX-HUNTING protesters and staff from a York shop have staged a hunt in Coney Street ahead of the police commissioner elections.    Lush staff [Above left] - supported by the Hunt Saboteurs Association - dressed as foxes and animal rights protesters were chased around by staff members dressed as police officers.    A spokesman for Lush said the protest was intended to dramatise the public perception that police will turn a blind eye to wildlife crime, while surveying and intimidating animal rights, environmental and peace activists.  He said the police commissioner elections had provoked controversy as the elected candidates will have unprecedented power over police funding and priorities, yet there have been predictions that fewer than 15 per cent of the electorate will vote.

Hilary Jones, ethics director for Lush Limited, said:  "In the past, Lush has had talks with the police and animal charities over the issues of wildlife crime and how we could help support the efforts of the Police Wildlife Crime Unit. We were very shocked when we discovered how low their budget is to police the whole of the UK. So you can imagine our surprise when the scandal broke last year regarding undercover police operations in the environmental and animal protest movement and we learned of the huge allocation of money to that operation."

Other reports in Croydon Advertiser, Lincolnshire Echo, S.Wales Ev.Post, Bath Chronicle, Redditch Standard, Gloucestershire Echo


Hunts take fright at recent convictions and enhanced monitoring

11-10-12   Horse & Hound     Hunts warned to be diligent this season     The Hunting Office is reiterating its message that there will be more covert surveillance by antis this StephenLambert.jpgseason - so hunts must diligently record evidence of their legal activities.     Stephen Lambert [left], chairman of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA), told H&H that his colleagues had been working with hunts across the country to ensure "that it becomes second nature to file evidence of trail laying or hunting within the exemptions of the Hunting Act".    Private prosecutions* by animal charities this year have seen members of the Meynell and the Crawley and Horsham convicted of unlawful hunting.   A case brought by the RSPCA against the Heythrop is due to be heard in December.  And the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) has hired eight new investigators since last season,TimBonner.jpg many of whom are former police officers.     "Hunts are taking this very seriously and we are pleased they have accepted that they must be able to defend everything they do and keep a log of their legal activity," said Mr Lambert.   "We must be absolutely punctilious about this and have our ducks in a row."      Mr Lambert's warning was echoed by Tim Bonner [right], campaigns director at the Countryside Alliance.   "LACS' strategy is covert surveillance, which would mean that in most instances, hunts would not even be aware that they were being filmed. The threat of spurious allegations from such a MarkBycroftHuntsmanOldSurreyFH.jpgbiased source is obvious," he added.

Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent huntsman Mark Bycroft [left] said evidence gathering was not an onerous task.   "It is just like extra paperwork - you get used to it," he told H&H. "We have three teams of trail layers and each one has a camera. At the end of the day you take the memory card out of the camera and put it onto the computer - so you've got the evidence in case of any problem."    Mr Bycroft stressed that this approach was essential to safeguard the future of hunting.   "There's a small minority who will try everything to get you into court,"  he said . "If the case for repeal is presented to the government and more hunts have been up for illegal hunting, then it may not happen," he added.

POWAperson comments:-   With the usual casual hunter disregard for the truth, the writer 'forgets' that both the Meynell andVanessaLambertJMHeythropFH.jpg Crawley & Horsham prosecutions were brought by the police/CPS - the first Hunting Act cases taken up by the authorities against organised Hunts for quite some time. This would seem to be significant, indicating that they are finally wising up to the 'cynical subterfuges' being used by Hunts - as would the scathing comments made by judges in the past year concerning the behaviour and evidence of accused hunters. 

Quite how the hunt hierarchy think that having video evidence of trails being laid is going to help them if hunters are then caught on camera hunting live quarry - the minimum requirement for a conviction - is a puzzle.  If they really want to avoid exposure and possible prosecution, then they could try not using fox-based scents, not laying these in areas where foxes are likely to be laying up, not sending hounds into such coverts and not chasing wildlife.   Stephen Lambert is the father of 'Nessie' Lambert [right], a JM of the Heythrop FH, one of four people from that Hunt who are facing trail in December on multiple counts of illegal hunting. 

Zetland FH being investigated by police for illegal fox hunting
8-10-12   Teesdale Mercury    Police probe illegal fox hunting claim     POLICE are investigating an allegation of illegal hunting after it was reported a historic hunt had been seen chasing a fox with dogs.     The incident was reported to North Yorkshire Police by a member of the public who claimed to have seen huntsmen pursuing a fox with dogs in Eppleby. 
Officers have spoken to members of the Zetland Hunt about the incident, which is alleged to have happened at around 8am last Tuesday.    Hunt secretary Andrew Spalding denied any illegal behaviour.  He said: "We weren't doing anything wrong. We went out and laid scent trails in the morning and were chasing them. We were hunting within the law." 
A police spokeswoman said the person who reported the incident said they had seen the fox being chased but did not know whether it had been killed or not.   She added that the alleged incident was being investigated.  "It's notoriously difficult to prove unfortunately but we want people to come forward and we will take it from there," she said.     Hunting animals with dogs was banned in 2005 following the introduction of the Hunting Act.    Anyone who saw the alleged incident is asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 101.

Beaufort FH and 'Cadburys' dairy farm in brutal bull calf slaughter
7-10-12   Mail on Sunday     Farm that sells milk to Cadbury 'shoots male calves to feed hunt hounds'    Campaigners' undercover footage shows shooting.  Bristol farm shown in film supplies chocolate giant.     Animal rights campaigners have claimed dairy calves only days old are being shot to feed hunt hounds.  Undercover footage shows a young male being shot in the head as it stands on a pile of calf carcasses in a trailer.  The farm in Bristol shown in the film supplies milk to Cadbury, which makes 250million bars of chocolate each year.  Male calves are virtually useless to farmers as they do not provide milk and there is little demand to buy them. Campaigners claim the calf is one of around 100,000 male dairy animals executed shortly after birth each year as there is no market for them.BeaufortFHworkershootssurplusbullcalftotaketofeedhounds.jpg
The undercover film-makers from Viva! claim the calf was shot by a member of Beaufort Hunt.  This was regularly attended by members of the Royal Family including Prince Charles and his sons William and Harry before the 2004 foxhunting ban.  The calf's corpse was later taken away to be fed to the hounds.  The footage was secretly recorded by animal welfare activists who infiltrated a number of farms which supply milk to the confectionery industry. Despite the distressing images, none of the actions seen in the film are illegal. Dairy cows must be impregnated yearly to produce milk for human consumption but many of the male calves born are deemed surplus as demand for veal is limited.  They are shot soon after birth and turned into pet food or other low-value products.
Speaking after the footage was released, Viva! campaigner Kat Affleck said:  ‘Consumers have a right to know the brutal truth that Cadbury's would rather keep quiet, how dairy products are produced. The cruel parental separation and shooting of thousands of male dairy calves hardly fits in with their picturesque pastoral image. One hundred thousand shots ring out on dairy farms every year because of unwanted males. Sadly virtually all milk, has similar provenance. The cruelty is inherent to the industry.'
Ian Farquhar, joint master of the Beaufort Hunt, last night said the Hunt was ‘helping out the farming community' to deal with unwanted calves.  He said:  ‘It is not a question of being cruel. I was a farmer when calves were raised and put into the food chain. But through EU legislation and DEFRA policy, there is no longer any market for them. It has nothing to do with the hunts. It is simply non-viable for the farmers to raise calves. The hunts who still collect calves are doing it purely for the benefit of the farmer.  We do not enjoy it, it is simply a case of the rural community helping each other out.'
A spokesman for Kraft, Cadbury's parent company, said the firm took animal welfare ‘very seriously' and said it was an out-of-the-ordinary incident.  The spokesman said this particular calf had a deformed leg.  He was taken from the farm by a licensed slaughterer from the Beaufort Hunt Kennels and dealt with humanely.  He said: ‘We purchase milk from hundreds of farms across the UK. This video is 18 months old and, at the time it was released, we said we took animal welfare very seriously and nothing has changed.'
The story was also covered by the 
Sunday Express

Sabs claim were assaulted by Rockwood Harriers - seven hurt, camera stolen

SabswithseveralofRockwoodHarrierspack.jpg8-10-12    We spent Saturday following a team-up of hunt saboteurs from the Midlands and Northern regions around Wortley, north of Sheffield, to monitor and disrupt any illegal hunting committed by the Rockwood Harriers, a pack that hunts hares rather than foxes.    We arrived and stood alongside the hunt, we were amazed to see that that the hunt did not know how to react to the presence of hunt saboteurs.  As a result the Hunt spent an hour of their time waiting around for an hour in an attempt to come up with a plan to ditch the sabs and carry on with their bloodsport.
After an hour's planning the hunt made a rather feeble attempt to bolt off a great distance to lose the saboteurs and hunt in a nearby valley out of sight from any roads.  This plan did not go well for the Hunt as the saboteurs swiftly relocated the Hunt.  The sabs took a tactical advantage point in a nearby field with no present wildlife, then used a combination of voice calls and horn blows to take control of the hounds [left], keeping them a safe distance from the huntsmen and wildlife.
Despite repeated attempts to retrieve the pack for the purposes of killing, two ‘whippers in’ (hunt staff with the responsibility of controlling the hounds) were sent to remove the hounds from the sabs control.  After their best efforts, the ‘whippers in’ soon realized that the sabs were far better at controlling the hounds than their own hunt staff and gave up.   After over half an hour of no killing, the Hunt sent five rather large hunt staff to force the sabs into losing control of the hounds.  The hunt staff pinned a female sab against a brick wall, with help from the other sabs she was able toSabinjuredbyRockwoodHarrierssupporter.jpg escape and the sabs made a tactical retreat back to their vehicles.
The sabs quickly relocated the hunt in a nearby field, shortly after making their way down a footpath the sabs were ambushed and blocked in by vehicles, riders and hunt support in an unprovoked attack (or provoked by good hunt sabotage).  A hunt supporter (yes we know who you are, charges will be made) snatched a video camera off a female sab, once the hunt BELIEVED that there was no active cameras they began their violent attack.  Whilst the supporter was throwing punches and kicking a female sab half his size who was already knocked on the floor, a hunt official began whacking sabs with his riding crop whilst still on his horse.    As more hunt staff and support joined in the sabs were forced to make a tactical retreat through a field.  Once on the road they were quickly met by police.  The police offered first aid supplies but made no attempt to question the perpetrators as they rode by even when identified by the sabs.  Two sabs received serious injuries needing hospital treatment (one has broken tooth and nose [above right], the other received a head wound needing stitches) whilst 5 other sabs received bad but less serious injury.
One of the hunt saboteur groups now need a new camera as it was stolen, it is a vital piece of equipment needed to log illegal hunting activity - Hunts also tend to be discouraged from killing when cameras are present.
Nb.  Hunter names given in original report removed above to protect the possibly guilty!

Cub-hunting convict Greenall resigns as Chairman of Meynell FH

5-10-12   Burton Mail      Hunt chairman resigns after 'cubbing' conviction    THE Chairman of a renowned Hunt has stepped down from his role following his conviction for illegally pursuing fox cubs with hounds.  Master of the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt Johnny Greenall, has been convicted of breaking the law on hunting with dogs.  The Honourable Johnny Greenall [left], son of the Baron of Daresbury, announced his decision in the latest newsletter of The Meynell & South Staffordshire Hunt, citing the court case as his reason. Greenall and Glen Morris, of Ludgate Street, Tutbury, were secretly filmed by anti-JohnnyGreenallMeynellFHJM.jpghunt campaigners trying to kill foxes near Hilton.  Greenall, 52, was fined £3,515 and Morris, of Ludgate Street, Tutbury, was ordered to pay £515.
Footage played at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court showed members of the hunt surrounding a wood at Suffield Farm, in Sutton on the Hill, in October last year.  The hounds entered the wood to hunt young foxes in a sport known as ‘cubbing'.  One fleeing fox was scared back into the wood by the surrounding huntsmen, who were clapping their hands.   Hunting foxes with dogs was made illegal in the 2004 Hunting Act.     The National Trust later banned the hunt from riding on its land, which includes Calke Abbey, near Ticknall, following a petition urging the trust to remove access rights for the Hunt.
In the newsletter, Greenall said of the court case: "This was a disappointing day, not only personally but for the Hunt. However, there are lessons to be learned and I am standing down so that the result of the court case doesn't overshadow or provide a distraction to the new season and our law-abiding activities."   He added that he would stay on as a trustee of the Hunt and in the meantime, current vice-chairman Richard Froggatt would take on chairmanship until May 1, 2013. The committee has approved the appointment of Richard Parrott as chairman when he steps down as master at the end of the season.

POWAperson adds:- There is not a hint of contrition or acknowledgement from Greenall that he, and indeed the rest of the Meynell, were caught red-handed flouting the law and engaging in one of the most cruel and barbaric aspects of fox hunting.    The Ashbourne News Telegraph originally broke the news of his resignation on 12-9-12, additionally revealing that JM, and new Chairman-elect, Richard Parrot, had had the nerve to complain that the NT had not contacted them before withdrawing the licences!  They really don't get it, do they?    The article above states that Greenall is the son of [the late] Baron Daresbury. Correct, but more pertinently, he is the younger brother of the current Lord Daresbury.  Daresbury, as Chairman of the MFHA, let down the side in 2004 when he wrote to Hunt Chairmen suggesting they urge 'their' farmers to provide more breeding habitat for foxes, as there weren't enough to hunt in many areas, thereby holing the 'pest control' argument for fox hunting below the waterline.

Hunts mobilised in desperate attempt to retain Corby seat for Conservatives

2-10-12   Horse & Hound     Hunts urged to support Conservative candidate in Corby by-electionChristineEmmettprohuntTorycandidateCorby.jpg    Hunts are being urged to support the Conservative candidate in the Corby by-election - to ensure that a  pro-repeal MP is returned.    The by-election, to be held on 15 November, was triggered by the surprise resignation of Tory MP Louise Mensch.  Corby, Northants, is a marginal seat and it is feared Labour could overturn her 1,951 majority. George Bowyer of Vote-OK - the lobby group that supports pro-repeal MPs - told H&H he wanted hunting people to take an "active role" in helping Tory candidate Christine Emmett.  "We are organising people to go and campaign for the Conservatives," he said.  "All the local hunts have received, or will soon receive, information about how to help."
AndySawfordLabourcandidateCorby.jpgChristine Emmett [right], a local businesswoman and county councillor, told H&H that she supported repeal.  "It is quite clear why the ban was brought in and why it should be repealed," she said.    Labour candidate Andy Sawford [left] is not thought to support repeal.  His office did not return H&H's calls.  Labour is currently 10 points ahead of the Tories in the polls.    Conservative blogger Tim Montgomerie said Mrs Emmett was a very good candidate, but warned she would have "an uphill struggle to keep the seat blue".  Labour and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) have been campaigning intensively.  Journalist James Delingpole has also thrown his hat in the ring, on an anti-windfarm platform.
George Bowyer urged hunt supporters to do all they could to help. "Hunting people need to regain the sense of the outrage that we all felt in 2002-03," he said. "Every time they go hunting under the new regime, they should think, ‘This is outrageous, it should be repealed'. In order to get repeal, we need to get the right people in," he added.

UPDATE   Vote OK's efforts were all for nothing, as, on November 15th, anti-hunt Labour candidate Andy Sawford romped home, his vote being nearly double that of the Conservative Christine Emmett.

POWAperson adds:-  Vote OK is essentially a Tory front group, with the sole purpose of mobilising hunters to assist with campaigning in  marginal constituencies where an anti [usually Labour] is contesting the seat with a pro-hunt candidate [almost always Conservative].  They have been operating since 2001, often calling in hunter support from many miles away. Hunters are instructed to canvass in normal clothes and not to mention hunting [usually a vote-loser] on the doorstep.  Vote OK has claimed an influential role in the outcome of some parliamentary contests, but there is really no way to verify this.    Whatever, it seems rather unlikely that they and the local Hunts will have anything to smile about after the by-election.  Labour look likely to regain the seat with something to spare.  Their candidate's father is a former Labour MP, Phil Sawford, who was always reliably anti-hunt.  We assume his son is too.  POWAperson predicts that the Lib-Dems will suffer another electoral humiliation and that the Conservatives could suffer a significant haemorrage of votes to UKIP in Corby.
The fragrant Louise Mensch, who resigned her seat for personal reasons, was pro-hunt, so her replacement by an anti will swing the balance of votes in the House of Commons on repeal even further against the hunting lobby, making it even more unlikely that Mr. Cameron will try to bring forward the measure in this Parliament.


..... 30th September - South Durham FH blame hunt sabs for hoax warning sign at their premises

..... 26th September - Cumbria hunt supporters ambush, attack and pursue LACS investigators

..... 26th September - Ledbury FH filmed chasing fox into badger sett they'd blocked, sabs claim

..... 25th September - Avon Vale FH five face Hunting/Badger Act charges. JM owns up to one.

..... 25th September - Surrey Union FH hounds hit by car in illegal hunt, claims the HSA

..... 24th September - Weston & Banwell Harriers JM/Huntsman trial to start on October 31st

..... 24th September - Jack Straw claims Tony Blair only committed to hunt ban by accident

..... 18th September - 'Hounds Off' says hundreds of extra acres banned to Hunts in its first year

..... 12th September - Heythrop FH rider is convicted of slashing monitor's car tyre

..... 12th September - Case against Weston & Banwell Harriers JM George Milton is deferred

..... 10th September - Nat. Trust bans Meynell FH from their land after cub-hunt conviction


South Durham FH JM/Huntsman blames sabs for hoax at hunt stable

30-9-12   Horse & Hound    Hunt saboteurs spread false strangles rumour     Hunt saboteurs descended to a new low in Co. Durham last week, putting up a sign falsely claiming the South Durham’s stables has strangles.   Joint-Master and Huntsman Garry Watchman found a notice declaring "Strangles — no entry" outside his yard in Stockton-on-Tees at lunchtime on Wednesday, 19th September.   He believes the sign had been in situ for a couple of hours before he noticed it.  "I moved it sharpish, but there were a fair few texts and emails flying around, asking if we would be autumn hunting that evening," said Mr Watchman.  He said the Hunt have been plagued by antis for the past five years.

POWAperson adds:-    We note that Mr. Watchman appears not to have had the presence of mind to take a photo of the alleged hoax sign, or, presumably, the H&H would have readily published it.  Even if it existed, he adduces no actual evidence as to who was responsible or why.  All in all, pretty typical of nearly all accusations made against antis - the hunters can hardly ever provide any proof.  Note also Mr. Watchman's use of the euphemism 'autumn hunting', now preferred to the phrase 'cub hunting', which gives too many clues as to the brutal and grisly reality of this aspect of the 'sport' of fox hunting.  Of course, the S.Durham may be one of the few fox hunts that aren't continuing to pursue live quarry...... 

Cumbria hunt supporters ambush, attack, pursue LACS investigators

26-9-12   LACS Press Release    Charity investigators ambushed and assaulted by hunt supporters     Wildlife Crime Investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports were ambushed and assaulted by hunt supporters in Cumbria today. The League deploys highly trained undercover investigators across the country to help detect and prevent wildlife crime.
Two such League investigators were preparing to go home after spending the day covertly monitoring a local hunt suspected of illegal activities, when they were spotted by a pro-hunt supporter who attempted to take photos of them.  The situation quickly escalated as more hunt supporters arrived, shouting abuse.  Appallingly, one of the investigators was then physically assaulted before he could get away and call for help.  Retreating form the scene, the investigators called 999, only to find that they were being followed by the hunt supporters.  One car gave up after only a few miles, but the second pursued the charity workers for many miles at high speeds down the M6.  Once the chase was finally over, the investigators headed to the local police station to report the matter. Shaken, but thankfully on this occasion, not seriously harmed.
A League Investigator comments: "This kind of behaviour comes as no surprise to our team of investigators. Pro-hunt groups increasingly seem to resort to intimidation tactics and even violence.  Perhaps we have them rattled, they should be!   Our recently enlarged operations team combines the knowledge and skills of experienced investigators, legal experts and ex police officers to make sure that these wildlife criminals are brought to justice".
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports says: "If hunters have nothing to hide and if they are hunting within the law why do they resort to violence and intimidation? We can only assume that they are trying to scare off investigators so that their illegal activities are not witnessed. It won't work and this type of behaviour just makes us more determined than ever".

POWAPerson adds:- This follows an incident in Bucks a couple of weeks ago in which LACS investigators were ambushed and menaced by hunt supporters before police came to their rescue.  Supporters of some Cumbrian hunts have an evil reputation. In March this year a group of Coniston supporters attacked sabs, injuring one. His assailant is still being sought by Cumbria police. They then, reportedly, obstructed and abused paramedics trying to reach the injured man.  In 2010, two Coniston supporters were 
cautioned for assaulting a League monitor, in an attack in which he was pushed off a wall, and there have been a number of attacks on sabs, monitors and even, in one case, on a media photographer in the past. 

Ledbury FH chase two foxes in illegal cub-hunting, claim sabs
Say second fox filmed fleeing down only hole of badger sett left open by hunters

26-9-12   HSA Press Release     Ledbury Hunt caught at blocked badger sett      This morning hunt saboteurs, from the Three Counties and Coventry groups, witnessed the Ledbury Hunt [right] chase a foxLedburyFHBoxingDaymeet..jpg down an active badger sett that had had most of its entrances blocked by hunt staff.  The hunt had met at Redmarley, Gloucestershire, and were clearly observed to be illegally cub hunting.  They had already chased an adult fox and only the intervention of saboteurs had enabled the animal to escape.  They then chased a second fox and a saboteur filmed the hounds follow it to an active badger sett.   All but one of the entrances had been blocked with logs and soil and fresh spade marks could be seen where the sett had been disturbed. When they realised they were being monitored the hunt staff quickly removed their hounds from the scene.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: "At a time when badgers are such a hot topic, particularly in Gloucestershire, it is incredible to witness the arrogance of the hunting community. They not only illegally chase foxes but are also illegally interfering with badger setts. With the increased public interest in these issues due to the imminent badger cull, which has led to an influx of new members, we look forward to being able to gather more evidence of illegal hunting and save more persecuted wild life."
POWAPerson adds:-    Further to the above report, it is believed that the sett in question is WITHIN the West Gloucestershire badger cull zone.  POWA has been sent the following information;-  "The Coventry and Three Counties hunt saboteurs were observing the Ledbury Hunt yesterday in BadgersettholeblockedpresumedbyLedburyFHinbadgercullzone26-9-12.JPGGloucestershire when they found this large active badger set that had all but one of the entrances blocked up with fresh soil.    They had observed members of the Ledbury hunt 'on point' round the perimeter of a covert near to the badger set and also filmed hounds running 'on cry' after a fox.    Although the sabs concerned explained the hunting activity to the TV crew during their interview, ITV chose not to mention this and cut any reference to the hunting activity that the sabs had filmed.   I understand that the crew were out with the sabs to see how they intend to try to protect the badgers from the cull and how they are surveying the setts that are located within the cull zone.."    We have been further informed that sab footage is currently being examined by the authorities with a view to prosecution, so will not be available for public viewing anytime soon.  The ITV West Country News film of the blocked sett referred to above can be viewed here.
In February, Viva! drew attention to a marked correlation between bovine Tb hotspots and intensity of organised hunting activity. Whilst any such correlation does not necessarily imply a causal link, it could certainly be worth investigating further - which, to our knowledge, has not been done. Viva! suggested that the infection could be spread via animals used for hunting and vehicles crisscrossing large areas of land.  See item dated 25-2-12 on this page for full story on Viva's claims.  Pic above left is one of the blocked holes of the sett in question.

Avon Vale FH 5 face Hunting & Badger Act charges in case brought by RSPCA
One JM to plead to interfering with badger sett, all other charges denied
Former senior Master Jonathan Seed among those charged

25-9-12   Wiltshire Gazette and Herald      Former huntmaster vows to fight badger sett charges    Five JonathanSeedexAvonValeFHconfrontedbyDeniseWardataBoxingDaymeet.jpgmembers of the Avon Vale Hunt, including a Wiltshire councillor, have appeared in court charged with breaching the Hunting Act 2004.   Joshua Charlesworth, 18, from East Tytherton; Benjamin Pethers, 28, from Hoopers Pool, Southwick; Stuart Radbourne, 28, from The Common, Bromham; Paul Tylee-Hinder, 58, of Quemerford, Calne and Jonathon Seed, 54, of Chittoe Heath, Bromham all denied the breach when they appeared before magistrates in Chippenham on Tuesday.   Four of them denied an additional charge of intefering with a badger sett, though Mr Radbourne, one of the joint hunt masters, indicated a guilty plea to that charge.
The case has been brought by the RSPCA and refers to incidents alleged to have taken place on March 6 this year at Stockley Hollow, near Calne.  The bench heard that the case could not proceed on Tuesday so it has been adjourned until November 9 when a date for the trial will be set.  The five all appeared on summons so the question of bail did not arise.   Mr Seed, Wiltshire councillor for Summerham and Seed and a former hunt master, said he intended to fight the allegation against him.  In a statement outside court he said: "This is a private prosecution by the RSPCA and I believe that is has been commenced for political reasons as their stance against hunting is well known and it is of great significance that Wiltshire Police, after advice from the Crown Prosecution Service, declined to take this case forward. In my opinion these proceedings are an abuse of the private prosecution system which needs to be addressed in due course. I totally deny the allegations of any offence against the Hunting Act and there is simply no evidence of either myself or any of the other defendants or anyone else being involved in any illegal hunting on the day in question."

Pic left above shows Jonathan Seed getting a bit aerated when confronted at a Boxing Day meet at Lacock by POWA Associate and producer of the film 
'A Minority Pastime'  , Denise Ward. The original report of the incident in March can be viewed here.

Surrey Union FH hounds hit by car during 'illegal' hunt, claims HSA

25-9-12    HSA Press Release     Surrey Union Hounds hit by car during illegal hunt      Four hounds, from the Surrey Union Hunt, were hit by a car this morning on a road between Newdigate and Charlwood. The female driver had no chance to avoid the hounds as they ran straight out in front of her car. One hound went under her car and was taken away by the hunt. We have no confirmation, as yet, whether it's alive or dead. The woman's vehicle was covered in blood after the incident and a van had to swerve of the road, into a hedge, to avoid the hounds, sustaining minor damage.    No hunt saboteurs were in the area during this incident but were contacted by a concerned witness.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: "If the Surrey Union were following an artificial trail, as they claim, then what were their hounds doing near a road during the morning rush hour? We believe their hounds must've been hunting a wild animal, in contravention of the 2004 Hunting Act. This is not an accident, as the hunt will no doubt claim, but another example of hunts flouting the law and putting their hounds, wild animals and motorists at risk."

Weston & Banwell JM/Huntsman trial to start on October 31st

POWA understands that the prosecution of George Milton, who has been in charge of the Somerset-based Hunt for many years, is now to commence on October 31st.  Taunton Magistrates Court. He is facing two charges under the Hunting Act and another under the Protection of Badgers Act. 
POWAPerson adds:-   The W&B is a small Hunt, but has one eminent regular rider - the Hon. Dido Harding [left], who is CEO of telecoms giant TalkTalk.   The daughter of Lord Harding, she grew up on the family pig-farm in Dorset. She studied alongside David Cameron at Oxford University in the late '80s.  Dido is married to the Conservative MP for Weston-Super-Mare, John Penrose. She is a keen horse racer and owned the horse that won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1998.    Dido participated in the celebrity ladies race at Goodwood in 2011.  She was described in a Telegraph article about the race as '...... a consummate horse-wonan who was as feared in her time in the ladies' changing tents of West Country point-to-points as Boadecia.'    The article's author was none other than Cameron's pal Charlie Brooks, husband of Rebecca, who, with her, is facing charges of perverting the course of justice relating to the News International hacking inquiry.

Jack Straw claims Tony Blair committed himself to hunting ban by accident
24-9-12   Daily Telegraph     Tony Blair accidentally supported the ban on fox hunting after the Labour Party got themselves "in a muddle" and he "misspoke" on television, Jack Straw has disclosed       Mr Blair apologised to the then-Home Secretary after inadvertently supporting a ban on foxhunting while JackStraw.jpgappearing on Question Time, Mr Straw [left] has claimed. In an extract of his memoirs published today,   Mr Straw disclosed he had felt the debate on hunting was a "nonsense issue" which was "best left alone".  Although Mr Blair agreed, he claimed, he was "put on the spot" while answering questions on live television and unexpectedly announced he would support a ban.
In his book, entitled 'Last Man Standing', Mr Straw wrote:  "I remember the 1997 election that brought us into power. We in the Labour Party had got ourselves in a muddle over foxhunting. To me, banning it was a nonsense issue for a serious party making a determined bid for government after 18 years in opposition. It was best left alone. But it crept into the manifesto in a suitably ambiguous form - until Tony, who didn't think it important either, went on Question Time, was put on the spot and announced he'd support a ban. I went to see him the next day to ask him why. ‘I'm very sorry, Jack,' he said. ‘I misspoke.'"
Mr Blair [below right] later confessed the Hunting Bill was one of the measures he most regretted during his time as Prime Minister, admitting he did not know enough about the debate.  The ban became one of the most controversial laws introduced by his administration, prompting mass marches in London and even an invasion of Parliament by protesters.   Speaking in 2010, Mr Blair said: "If I'd proposed solving the pension problem by compulsory euthanasia for every fifth pensioner I'd have got less trouble for it. By the end of it, I felt like the damn fox."

POWAPerson says:-     Most of the assertions by Jack Straw as reported above appear to be an attempt to rewrite history.   The Labour Party as a whole, rather than the elitist cabal at the top,  was in no 'muddle' whatsoever about hunting.   An outright ban [supported by around three-quarters of the public] had been Party policy for many years and a motion reaffirming that ambition hadTonyBlair.jpg been passed nem-con at Conference in 1993.   Nobody was in the slightest doubt what the 1997 Manifesto Commitment to a free vote meant - that a Government Bill banning hunting had to follow the inevitable heavy backing for abolition from the Commons.
Labour's accompanying 'Manifesto for Animals' made the intent to ban hunting even more explicit.   In the event, Michael Foster MP drew No.1 position in the Private Members Bill ballot after the 1997 landslide victory and readily agreed to introduce a banning Bill, thus saving the Government the trouble of having to write its own legislation.  The Foster Bill passed its Second Reading by the largest ever-margin for any PMB.    But it would have outlawed live quarry hunting far more effectively than did the grudgingly-conceded Hunting Act 7 years later, and that, for some in the Labour hierarchy, was its entire problem.
Jack Straw was then Home Secretary, the Home Office, in those days, being the responsible Department.  We knew he was a keen rider and close to the horse-racing fraternity which, obviously, itself has close links with the hunters.  Though he had never voiced any real opposition to the ban in public, it seems likely that he was the prime mover in the dilution and then the killing off of the Foster Bill.  POWA's John Bryant, then with LACS, was primary adviser to Mr. Foster on the Bill  and says   "It was Jack Straw who hoodwinked Michael Foster into amending his Bill so that the 'offence' became "hunting a wild mammal with a dog" instead of "causing or permitting a dog to hunt a wild mammal" - hence 'Sorry guv, I know my pack of hounds chased a fox and tore it to pieces, but it was an accident'.
The subsequent demise of the Bill was blamed on Tory opposition in the Lords, but it was always clear that , so huge was the Commons majority for the measure,  it could have been steered through with help from the Government, or even taken over by them as their own Bill.  A ban could have been in place by 1999.  Instead, they allowed it to be killed CountrysideMarch.jpgoff and Straw kicked the issue into the long grass by commissioning the lengthy Burns Inquiry, presumably hoping it would produce adequate excuses to enable the Government to drop any ban plans, much as the Scott-Henderson report had done for Atlee's post-war administration.   Doubtless to Mr. Straw's chagrin, however, Burns failed to oblige.    With the mass of Labour backbenchers, and some Cabinet members, still baying for a ban, Straw continued delaying tactics with the Tripartite Bill.   When the Commons once more voted overwhelmingly for outlawing hunting,  he then adopted the cynical tactic of introducing a banning Bill only months before the 2001 election was due, which meant it could not possibly become law.
As regards Blair's public commitment to a hunting ban, many of us still have letters written by him supporting that policy from both and after and before his Question Time statement.   Perhaps he thought he meant it then - who knows what went on inside that slippery and convoluted mind?  But we do know the numbers mobilised on to the streets by the Countryside Alliance
 badly scared him, even though most were motivated primarily by discontent over a period of very low farm-gate prices, which the CA skilfully misrepresented as a mass rural uprising against a hunting ban.    And we do know that Blair was ever mightily impressed by the rich and powerful and reluctant to ever seriously upset them.  And we do know that he colluded in delaying the inevitable as long as possible and endeavoured to make any banning legislation as anodyne and ineffective as he could, even claiming later in his own memoirs that he had 'sabotaged' the Hunting Act and told the then Policing Minister, Hazel Blears, to ensure it wasn't enforced.
Jack Straw, by this time, was Foreign Secretary, with no direct control of policy on hunting, but he was still a central figure in Blair's inner-circle 'sofa cabinet', so it's very possible that he continued to play a role in undermining the efforts to obtain an effective and readily enforceable ban on the hunting of live quarry with dogs.  He remains a very senior  'elder statesman' in Labour circles, and one can only hope that he is no longer able to exercise such a baleful and negative influence in the modern Party hierarchy's attitudes and policy towards the hunting issue.

'Hounds Off' says hundreds of extra acres banned to Hunts in its first year
18-9-12   Hounds Off PROGRESS REPORT No.1      Since September 2011, hundreds of acres of land areHoundsOff.jpg known to have been made out of bounds to bloodsports, affecting dozens of Hunts nationwide.   In reality the figure could be much higher because we have no system for monitoring Warning Off emails and letters sent by individuals.   Hounds Off encourages autonomous action. We deliberately make no demands regarding feedback or membership.    Following 26 complaints regarding Hunt trespass during the season 2011/12, Hounds Off offered practical advice and support in warning Hunts off land in twelve different counties, including:-
  • 170 acres lost to North Ledbury Hunt after alpacas were attacked by hounds.
  • East Studdal, near Dover, forbidden to West Street Tickham Hunt following a hunt invasion and fox killing in the village.
  • At least seven Dorset properties banned to Portman Hunt in weekend of action, 22/23 October.
  • Securing hunt-free zone status for a Yorkshire property where the family cat was killed in December following trespass by Staintondale Hunt.
  • 15 Kentish acres forbidden to Ashford Valley Hunt including woodland inhabited by foxes.
  • Over 300 acres in Somerset and Dorset confirmed as Hunt-free, affecting at least two foxhunts there.
  • Confirming the hunt-free status a 227 acre woodland Nature Reserve in Dorset following hunt trespass in November.
Heythrop FH rider is convicted of slashing monitor's car tyre
MacFarlane, who plead poverty in court, said to live with Marchioness of Blandford

The following is based on a Press Release issued by the victim -
14th September  -   HEYTHROP HUNT RIDER FOUND GUILTY OF CRIMINAL DAMAGE TO MONITOR'S CAR    A car salesman who rides with the Heythrop FH, the PM's local Hunt, Thomas Edward Hastings Macfarlane [left] of Wootton, Woodstock, Oxfordshire was found guilty of criminal damage at Banbury Magistrates court on ThomasMacfarlaneHeythropFH.jpeg12 September 2012.  He was fined £110, ordered to pay compensation of  £105.60, and £500 costs.
Whilst Hunt Monitor Mrs Judy Gilbert of High Wycombe, Bucks was observing the Heythrop hunt near Chipping Norton on 7 January 2012, Macfarlane approached the rear of her vehicle and used a sharp implement to surreptitiously cut the wall of Mrs Gilbert's rear offside tyre, bursting it and causing it to deflate. This action effectively immobilized her, preventing her from monitoring the hunt for the rest of the day.
This is not the first time Mrs Gilbert has suffered criminal damage to her property whilst observing the Heythrop Hunt.  On two previous occasions a total of four of her tyres have been deliberately destroyed [example below, right]. Mrs Gilbert said, " I am very pleased with the verdict and that at last someone has been brought to justice for an attack on my vehicle. To suffer this kind of attack is very upsetting and such abominable behaviour should not be tolerated."
Thomas Macfarlane lives with Rebecca, Marchioness of Blandford at Wootton, Woodstock.  Rebecca Brown wasMonitorJudyGilberttyreafterslashedbyThomasMacfarlane7-1-12.jpeg previously married to Charles James Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford was born on 24 November 1955.  He is the son of John George Vanderbilt Henry Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough owner of Blenheim Palace, Woodstock.
The Heythrop Hunt and four of its members are being prosecuted by the RSPCA for 45 alleged offences under the Hunting Act 2004.  They denied illegally hunting foxes with dogs during incidents that took place during the 2011/2012 season. Huntsman Julian Barnfield, whipper-in Duncan Hune, joint master Venessa Lambert and retired joint master Richard Sumner have all been charged with a number of offences.  The case will be heard at Bicester Magistrates Court which is due to start on 13th December 2012 and is expected to last for several weeks.   Mrs Gilbert suffered an assault at the Heythrop hunt on 30th December 2006. Hunt Supporter Anthony Greaves received a police caution for common assault on Mrs Gilbert. The assault was a nasty unprovoked attack and committed in front of his children.

POWAPerson adds;-   The story was covered in the Banbury Cake, the Herald series and the Oxford Mail.  Film of the 2006 assault on Judy can be found here.  Several other examples of aggressive and abusive behaviour by riders and followers of the Heythrop have been posted on YouTube.  Examples can be found here, here, here, and here.
The Heythrop is, of course, the local and favourite Hunt of PM David Cameron and the rest of the 'Chipping Norton set'.  Monitors are frequently subjected to obstruction, abuse and intimidation from Hunt members and followers and several such hunters have been convicted of assault, criminal damage and threatening behaviour against them over the last few years.  The Heythrop are very far from the only Hunt whose staff, riders and followers engage in such behaviour and wildlife, sabs and monitors are not their only victims.  POWA now has records of more than 300 who have actually been convicted of, or cautioned for, criminal offences since 1990.  All of which casts some doubt of the assertion by Owen Paterson MP, who was recently appointed DEFRA Secretary of State by Mr. Cameron, that 'only honest, decent people go hunting' !
Despite the obstacles placed in monitors' way by the weakness of the Act and the behaviour of the hunters, Heythrop Huntsman Julian Barnfield was arraigned by the CPS on four charges of illegal hunting in 2008. But, following the Judgement in the appeal of Exmoor Huntsman Tony Wright, which interpreted the Act in a manner highly favourable to the hunters, the CPS dropped the case like a hot potato.  The RSPCA subsequently charged the Heythrop Huntsman with two new counts of Hunting Act offences last year. But, after, the Society decided earlier this year to launch a multi-charge prosecution of the Heythrop itself, and four members including Barnfield, based on film taken by monitors in the 2011/12 season, they made a pragmatic decision not to pursue these earlier charges against him because continuing them would have delayed and complicated the much larger new case.
Hunting, Badger Act charges against Weston & Banwell  Harriers' JM/Huntsman deferred

12-9-12      POWA understands that two charges of illegal hunting and one of interfering with a badger sett against the Hunt's prime mover, George Milton, were to be heard yesterday, but have been postponed due to an administrative error.    No further details of the case are presently available.     Mr Milton has been JM of the Weston since 1996, with his wife Lizzie, and it is believed he is also Huntsman.  They hunt the Somerset levels, to the west of the Mendip Hills.   So widespread in their country are water-filled ditches that, apparently, it is 'not uncommon for a tractor to be on hand to pull out both unfortunate horses and riders', and George is given to singing 'Always look on the bright side of life' as yet another of his field takes a ducking. Presumably he is not so cheerful about the charges he is now facing.
Meynell FH banned from Nat.Trust land for a year following cub-hunting conviction

10-9-12   Burton Mail    National Trust bans the Meynell hunt from its land     CAMPAIGNERS who ensured the conviction of members of an illegal fox hunting gang have won another victory after the National Trust agreed not to grant licences for the hunt on its land.    Master of the Meynell and South Staffordshire JohnnyGreenallMeynellFHJM.jpgHunt Johnny Greenall [left], has been convicted of breaking the law on hunting with dogs.    The Meynell & South Staffordshire Hunt will no longer be allowed to ride through Calke Abbey, near Ticknall, or two other sites in Derbyshire, after anti-hunt campaigners, Derby Hunt Sabs, set up a petition urging the National Trust to remove access rights to its land for the hunt.     The ban comes after The Hon. Johnny Greenall, son of the Baron of Daresbury, and Glen Morris, of Ludgate Street, Tutbury, were secretly filmed by Derby Hunt Sabs trying to kill foxes near Hilton. Last month, Greenall, 52, was fined £3,515 and Morris, 43, was ordered to pay £515.
Footage played at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court showed members of the hunt surrounding a wood at Suffield Farm in Sutton on the Hill in October last year.  The hounds entered the wood to hunt young foxes in a sport known as ‘cubbing'. One fleeing fox was scared back into the wood by the surrounding huntsmen who were clapping their hands. Hunting foxes with dogs was made illegal in the 2004 Hunting Act. Roger Swain, one of the protesters who filmed the hunt, said:  "We contacted the National Trust and started a campaign to bar this hunt from the National Trust properties of Calke Abbey, Kedleston Hall, and Ilam Park which traditionally lie within the hunting country of the hunt.   "The National Trust allows hunts licences if they behave in a legal manner. Clearly this hunt wasn't."

LACS officer sacked after stealing £15k is jailed for 16 months

8-9-12   Western Morning News    Cornwall animal rights official jailed for £15,000 fraud     A former senior member of an animal rights lobby group has been jailed for spending £15,000 of the charity's money on himself.   Steve Taylor, the ex-head of campaigns and communications at the League Against Cruel Sports, used his company credit card to pay for trips and accommodation, for food and online shopping. He even used it to pay for an Apple iPad as a present for the outgoing chief executive Doug Batchelor, pocketing the cash from a collection raised by colleagues to buy the leaving gift.    Taylor, of Tideford, Cornwall, was jailed for 16 months by a judge who described his fraud as "a serious breach of trust".
Staff at the League became aware of the credit card being used to make cash withdrawals and Taylor received a warning. But the worker, who was involved in high-profile actions and in direct lobbying of MPs, continued in what was called "systematic purchases of goods".   Between January 2, 2010 and October 29, 2011, he made 333 separate transactions. "These were both on the defendant's company credit card and also other persons', from whom he borrowed credit cards."    The total illicit spend was £14,925.88. The highest payment was £488, the lowest a mere 48p.     Adrian Lovett, defending Taylor, said in mitigation that his client did suffer some mental health issues and as far back as 1996 he tried to commit suicide. Of the latest conviction, he said: "He doesn't understand why he did it."
POWAperson adds - It also emerged at the trial that Taylor was a serial fraudster and had been given a jail term of a year in 1998 for stealing £12,000 from his charity employer. LACS has since carried out a major restructuring of its staff.

Strong hunting fan Owen Paterson made DEFRA Sec. of State in reshuffle
But abstainer Lib-Dem gets ag brief: Herbert & Garnier leave Government
5-9-12    Western Morning News   Pro-hunting MP takes charge of rural affairs     An MP fiercely opposed toOwenPatersonMP.jpg the hunting ban is to take command of the Government department in charge of the countryside, it was announced in David Cameron's reshuffle. Owen Paterson [right] will take over as Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) from Caroline Spelman, leaving his post as Northern Ireland Secretary.  Mr Paterson, Tory MP for rural North Shropshire, described the Hunting Act passing into law in 2004 as a "sad day for the House of Commons".   A date is unknown for a promised Commons vote on repealing the fox hunting ban, an incendiary issue in the Westcountry. Mr Paterson also campaigned for a badger cull to tackle tuberculosis in cattle, which is rife in the South West. .... and Somerton and Frome Lib Dem MP David Heath was appointed a Defra minister.
POWA Person adds:-    Paterson clearly feels much more strongly about hunting than did his predecessor Caroline Spelman, having once likened antis to Nazis. In a Commons debate in 2001 he said that 'only honest, decent people' go hunting, adding this warning to anti MPS;-  
'Before they troop through the politically correct lobby, brimming with self-righteous bile and spiteful DavidHeathMP.jpgprejudice, they should remember the unhappy precedent of 1936 when the revolting Reichsjaeger Hermann Goering persuaded Hitler to ban hunting.... A ban will be an ominous portent of further freedoms to be lost at the hands of an intolerant majority.'
But David Cameron has sent mixed messages to the hunting lobby with his appointments.  The bloodsports-enthusiast Agriculture Minister Jim Paice has been sacked. His replacement, the Lib-Dem MP for Somerton & Frome, David Heath [left], abstained on the main Hunting Bill votes, but, after the 2010 election, told LACS that  he would vote against repeal of the Act. Cameron had made Paice also the first Minister for Hunting and Shooting and it is presumed this portfolio will be inherited by Mr. Heath.  And, hunting fanatics Nick Herbert and Edward Garnier QC, Policing Minister and Solicitor-General respectively, have both left government.  Herbert, a JM of a hare hunt for many years and a former Political Director of the CA, claims he was not sacked but quit voluntarily.  He says he will now concentrate on developing new ideas and
 'protecting the countryside'. No prizes for guessing what Herbert means by the latter.

..... 29th August - Minehead Harriers whipper-in died from stroke after hunting accident, says inquest

..... 28th August - LACS Investigators call on police to protect them from hunters' intimidation

..... 28th August - Police publish footage of Coniston FH supporter assaulting sab

..... 11th August - No arrest after Surrey Union man filmed riding at/threatening to kill girl sab

..... 9th August - Meynell FH Huntsman and terrierman convicted after sabs filmed cub hunting   

..... 6th August - Kent's West Street Tickham FH is forced to disband

..... 4th August - Heythrop FH trial set for December 13th. Hunt and 4 members to face 45 charges


Minehead Harriers whip died from massive stroke after hunting accident horror

Gary Bradley, and his co-accused William Goffe , were the first men from an organised Hunt in England to be convicted of illegal fox hunting when they were found quilty  in January 2008, after a private prosecution by the League Against Cruel Sports 

29-8-12   Western Daily Press     Huntsman dragged by horse had huge stroke      An experienced huntsman died after being thrown from his horse when it refused to jump a gate, bucked and rammed him into a tree, an inquest heard yesterday.   Gary Bradley, 55, a "whipper-in", was riding with an organised hunt with 14 others, when his horse bolted at a gate and threw them both down a steep hill. Mr Bradley, whose ankle caught in the stirrup, suffered a severe pelvic fracture, broken ribs and a head injury after he was dragged down a "sheer drop" into a tree....    An inquest at West Somerset Coroner's Court, in Taunton, heard how the huntsman.... was knocked unconscious during the horrific ordeal on January 15 last year. His horse became spooked and bolted in Wheddon Cross, Somerset, while out on a ride with the Minehead Harriers....    He was rushed to Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital, in Somerset....   Another CT scan then showed that Mr Bradley had suffered a huge traumatic stroke and he was transferred to Frenchay Hospital, Bristol. But a day later, on January 26, Mr Bradley, from Timberscombe, Somerset, succumbed to his injuries and died.

L.ACS officers probing Hunt artificial earths rescued by police from hunters' intimidation

28-8-12   LACS Press Release    Local hunt resorts to intimidation tactics over artificial earth discovery     Acting on intelligence received, investigators at the League Against Cruel Sports visited areas in Buckinghamshire to investigate reports of artificial earths set up in close proximity to hunt kennels. Upon arrival, the investigators identified several artificial earths. One earth consisted of two entrances and a brick built central chamber with concrete tunnels leading off it. Inside the immediate vicinities of the earths, investigators found the remains of a significant number of chickens in varying states of decay, indicating the animal carcases were being purposely deposited there on a number of ArtificialearthinBucks.jpgoccasions.
Artificial earths are built by Hunts to encourage the breeding of foxes to ensure that there are foxes to illegally hunt in that area. Typically, this involves encouraging foxes to use the earth by leaving offal outside them to feed off of. This practice completely contradicts the often used justification by the pro-hunting lobby that foxes are pests and their numbers should be controlled. 
On returning to the area on a separate occasion, to recover further surveillance footage of the culprits responsible for dumping the animal carcasses used to attract the foxes, it became apparent the Hunt were not happy to find that their secret had been uncovered.  The investigators found themselves surrounded by pick-up trucks and quad bikes with terrier boxes fitted to them.  After making a quick decision to take shelter in the village pub, the pub became surrounded by vehicles with some of the occupants staring through the windows and others entering the pub.
The investigators left the area and the police were called to protect their safety.   Further attempts to intimidate were then made, including blocking their exit and trying to photograph them, which was witnessed by the police present.      
Joe Duckworth, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports says: "It is sadly often the case that the individuals responsible for these shocking activities feel empowered by their fellow pro-hunt supporters to intimidate investigators with verbal abuse, threats and violence. We will continue in our efforts to expose those responsible and in doing so will not tolerate intimidation from illegal and violent countryside gangs."
A League Against Cruel Sports Investigator comments: "The fact that those individuals responsible for building the artificial earths and encouraging the foxes to use them, do not want this activity exposed, speaks volumes about their hidden agenda and illegal intentions to commit cruelty to animals."

POWAPerson adds;-   The hunters' bully-boy tactics are, of course, no surprise. Anyone standing against them in almost any way places themselves at some risk.  LACS Investigators are more in danger then most. One was beaten up and had his camera stolen last year  They produced a dossier of evidence regarding artificial earths throughout the country last year. Read their damning report here

Five months after the event, Cumbria police have uploaded, to their own website and to YouTube, a veryConistonFHsupporterwhoassaultedsab24-3-12.jpg short piece of footage showing a hunt supporter striking a sab with a cudgel.    The film gives a clear image of the offender [right] and police are seeking to know his identity.  They do not, however, mention that he was following the Coniston Hunt.

28-8-12    Assault on the Fells - Police ask members of the public to help identify man in video footage      Police officers in Windermere have release video footage which shows a man being assaulted in an effort to trace the person involved. On 24 March 2012 at 1:30 pm, a man aged 46 was assaulted whilst out on the fells in the Ambleside area. The footage shows a man lifting a stick to the victim and assaulting him. The victim suffered minor injuries. Police would like to speak to the man shown and also anyone who was in the area at the time in order to identify the person involved. If you are pictured or if you recognise anyone, can you please contact Windermere police on 101.  
The assault was part of a larger incident at the final meet on 24-3-12 [see 
Archive] in which sabs claim 3 of them were set upon by 15 hunt supporters. The sab was injured to his back and one eye.  Hunt supporters then blocked and abused paramedics. Walkers had apparently told sabs that they had earlier seen the hunt killing a fox.

No arrest of Surrey Union rider who allegedly rode at and threatened to kill female sab
But she is arrested, for 'harassment' at a later meet,  as sabs crimp cubbing attempts

11-8-12   HSA Press Release    Cub hunting starts in the South East with death threats     The Cub hunting season has started in the south east.   After a tipoff from members of the public, Guildford Hunt sabs visited the Surrey Union at their kennels at 5:30am.  The ten invited riders (cub hunting is by invite only for the most blood thirsty) were not happy to see the sabs and tried to lose them by fast riding.    One of their number.... proceeded to try and ride down one the female sabs repeatedly and then threatened to kill her in front of members of the public, who expressed their horror.  The police were called causing the Hunt to pack up but were greeted by Surrey Constabulary at their kennels.  Video evidence has been supplied of the incident.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: "The practice of cub hunting has no place under the Hunting Act and cannot be excused as a method of training hounds to a drag. The fact that hunts still go out in the early hours should be enough evidence in itself to show that illegal hunting is taking place, and all police forces should take this into consideration. Once again members of the HSA have to spend long hours monitoring hunts only to be the subject of abuse and physical attacks. It is time the police clamp down on the illegal and violent countryside gangs, masquerading as legitimate organisations." 
23-8-12   Facebook - SabinGuildford     Surrey police have shown their usual bias by arresting one of our sabs for harassment outside the kennels of the Surrey Union foxhunt this morning, just on the say so of one hunter, whereas the same sab can have threats to kill her and be ridden down (with plenty of evidence ) and no hunter gets arrested, even with the agreement of police on a previous day saying it was fine doing what we were doing, i.e. trying to stop the hunt breaking the law by illegally hunting. The remaining sabs bravely stuck on the hunt despite threats of arrest and saw the hunt pack up before 7 without attempting to hunt.
Meynell FH JM and terrierman convicted after sabs film cub-hunting
Rt.Hon Johnny Greenall fined £3,000 after failed to defend self in court
10-8-12   Derby Telegraph  [contains video]    A HUNT master and a member of his staff have been found guilty of illegally hunting fox cubs with hounds      Johnny Greenall [left], 52, and Glen Morris, 43, both pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them after anti-hunt protesters covertly filmed the hunt in October last year.  Roger Swain and Robin Ellison, were at the scene filming the hunt with hand-held cameras.  South Derbyshire Magistrates' Court was shown the footage, which showed huntsmen from the Meynell and South Staffordshire Hunt surrounding a wood near Hilton.  It was alleged the hounds entered the wood to hunt young foxes, in a sport known as "cubbing".  The video footage shows two foxes trying to escape from the wood, on Suffield Farm in Sutton-On-The-Hill.  One fox is scared back into the wood by the surrounding huntsmen clapping their hands.
JohnnyGreenallMeynellFHJM.jpgDefending the case, Bertie Woodcock QC said that the footage did not show Greenall clearly involved. He said: "The only evidence on the footage that Mr Greenall was there is audio." He said Greenall was on the other side of the wood to where footage was filmed.  "Mr Greenall's behaviour was not witnessed. There is no proof he had the shared intention of hunting the fox with the huntsmen."
The defendants chose not to give evidence in court.   But Sarah Lloyd, prosecuting, said Roger Swain was certain Greenall was chasing down one of the foxes.   Mr Woodcock made an application to district judge Caroline Goulborn to throw out the case against the defendants as there was "no case to answer".   This was turned down by the judge.  She said that she was satisfied the pair were engaged in illegal cubbing.   Summing up, she said: "The evidence that Mr.Greenall was the hunt master is not in dispute nor is the fact that he was there that day. Mr Greenall gave an innocent explanation as to why he was there in his police interview. But he has chosen not to give evidence in front of me today. This is because the evidence would not stand up to any scrutiny."
Speaking outside court, Mr Swain said: "We are very pleased that the case has been successful. It is a relief to know that justice has been done. The downside to the situation is that the pack of hounds is out there and is trained to kill fox cubs. We will be continuing the work we have been doing to put a stop to fox hunting."
Tim Bonner, from the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, was disappointed with the ruling. He said: "I am surprised at the verdict when there is no evidence foxes were shown to be pursued, let alone being caught by the hounds. The two clients are considering their options."
Greenall, of Wootton Hall, Wootton, near Ashbourne, was fined £3,000, ordered to pay £500 costs and a £15 victims surcharge. He paid the sum in full at court yesterday. Morris, of Ludgate Street, Tutbury, is currently off work with depression. He was fined £250, with costs of £250 and a £15 surcharge. He was ordered to pay the sum at £10 per fortnight.

POWAPerson says;  
 It is hard to praise too highly the sabs who obtained this footage or the importance of the convictions, not least the size of Greenall's fine, orders of magnitude larger than anything levied before. Albeit piffling to him, being an heir to the Greenall brewery fortune,  let's hope it has reset the benchmark. Police will be more likely to take on well-founded complaints of illegal hunting if courts are handing down stronger penalties than before this.
The conviction is especially embarrassing to the fox-hunting fraternity as Greenall, the head honcho of one of the most prestigious Hunts [formerly much patronised by Prince Charles] is close to their upper echelons.  He is the brother of the current Lord Daresbury.  His Lordship who was, of course, the plonker who, when he was MFHA Chairman, wrote, in early 2004, to all MFHA Chairs, bidding them to ask their local farmers to help foxes breed more, as they didn't have enough to hunt!   An email from Simon Hart, then CA CEO, rebuking him for this idiocy was kindly leaked by someone and widely publicised. When Hart went on to become a Tory candidate, Daresbury donated £2k to his campaign funds - presumably as belated apology. Daresbury has also donated nearly £50k to the Party itself. Chicken-feed to him though.
The Greenalls are the old brewing dynasty and extremely rich. Daresbury has a huge estate in Cheshire, which was one of the venues for the 'We'll break any ban' Declaration signing, later in 2004. Had, anyway, 'cos he put it up to sale for £11 million in 2010, so he could move nearer to his favourite Hunt, the Sir Watkins Williams-Wynn in N.Wales!  Daresbury is close to the Royals and is Chairman of Aintree racecourse. Brother Johnny has a slightly more modest estate in Derbyshire, Wooton Hall, but is also heavily into National Hunt racing. A former champion amateur jockey, he now owns racehorses.
It's a little surprising that the Meynell were engaging in what looks like traditional 'hold up' cub hunting that late in the season [October 22nd] as Hunts have normally switched to more standard hunting well before that date. It was very evident from the film what they were doing and hard to pass it off as any innocent activity. Nevertheless, the fleeting glimpse of a fox emerging from the copse was possibly crucial to the conviction, since case law requires there to be an identifiable hunted mammal.   And, gratifyingly, we have another instance of a Judge effectively calling a senior hunter a liar. After Greenall declined the opportunity to repeat his statement to police under oath, she said that would be because it 'would not stand up to any scrutiny'.  For me, his failure to answer the allegation in court probably makes this case unappealable, despite what Bonner said.

Kent's West Street Tickham FH forced to fold
6-8-12   Horse & Hound     West Street Tickham hunt to disband      The Hunting Office has applauded the decision of the West Street Tickham to disband, dividing its country between the Ashford Valley and the East Kent. Hunt secretary Sarah Leggat said the move - which will take effect for the 2013 season - should strengthen hunting in mid and east Kent. "It is very sad - but it's about the future of hunting," she said. Mrs Leggat said the hunt was facing financial challenges and lacked sufficient country during the shooting season - so looked to their neighbours for a solution. "The Ashford Valley have been very welcoming and are going to take on the Tickham name [becoming the Ashford Valley Tickham]," she said. "We're looking for draft homes for our hounds and we hope that Paul [Saunders] will find a new position within hunt service, because he's a cracking huntsman. He gives us some very good days, despite the obvious constraints of railways and motorways," she added. A number of H&H forum users went online to say it was a "sad day for hunting". But Tim Easby, director of the Hunting Office, said hunts need to consider their long-term viability. "This is excellent progress and the hunts are to be commended on the mature way that this has been dealt with," he said.

POWAPerson says:   The demise of an established fox hunt is indeed 'excellent progress', though not in the bizarre way Tim Easby tries to spin it.  The Hunt last came to public attention in October 2011, when their hounds staged an early morning raid on the village of Studall and upset residents by killing a fox there. Having seemed to initially deny involvement, the Hunt later apologised saying the hounds picked up a fox scent and got away from them and that they couldn't control the dogs. Presumably there will now be proportionally less hunting in East Kent, so the foxes there can sleep a little easier in their lay-ups and residents will be less subject to hunt havoc.

Heythrop FH trial date set for 13-12. Hunt and 4 members face 45 charges

4-8-12   Oxford Times    Heythrop Hunt and its members have denied illegally hunting foxes with dogs They are being prosecuted by the RSPCA on a 45 count indictment in contravention of the Hunting Act 2004. The Hunt faces nine counts of hunting a wild mammal with a dog across Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire relating to the spring 2012 hunt season. The six-week trial is set to start on December 13 at Bicester Magistrates' Court. Huntsman Julian Barnfield, 48, of Kennel Lane, Chipping Norton, was charged with the same nine counts as the hunt. Duncan Hune, 32, also of Kennel Lane, and Joint Master of the Hunt Vanessa Lambert, 29, of Adlestrop, Moreton-in-the-Marsh, each face seven similar charges. A fourth defendant, Richard Sumner, 68, of Penhill Farm, Salperton, Gloucestershire, faces 14 charges.

JULY 2012

..... 20th July - S.Pembrokeshire FH supporter jailed for firearms offences after allegedly shot monitor

Welsh hunt supporter jailed for firearms offences after allegedly shot monitor

20-7-12   BBC News S.W.Wales    Pembrokeshire farmer, 66, jailed over firearms offences      A South Pembrokeshire Hunt supporter, arrested but not charged after a protester claimed she had been shot in the head, has been jailed for firearms offences.   Steven Barrett [left], 66, of St Clears, Carmarthenshire, had a sawn-off rifle and ammunition inside his van, Swansea Crown Court was told. He StevenBarrettS.PembrokeshireFH.jpgadmitted several fire arms offences.   Due to his poor health, he was given a three-and-a-half year jail term instead of the minimum of five years.
Janet Gedrych, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court how on 19 October last year the hunt gathered in a clearing in a wood near Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire. There were also several supporters, travelling in vehicles, and protesters. Both groups, she said, were "well known to each other". An argument took place and one of the protesters,   Dr. Adrian Smallwood, began to film the scene. His wife, Monica, then said she had been shot in the head and blood could be seen coming from her forehead.  Miss Gedrych said the police were called and, after viewing the film footage, identified several vehicles. Barrett was stopped as he returned home in his van. Under the front passenger seat officers found a gun that has been illegally modified.
Miss Gedrych said it was originally a 0.22 rimfire rifle but when officers found it it was more like a single shot handgun. Barrett had shortened the barrel and replaced the stock with a pistol grip. Officers also found 10 live rounds of 0.22 ammunition designed to expand on impact.  His home was searched and 10 air rifles and six air pistols were found. Barrett told police he had put the gun and ammunition into his car because he had been under the impression that a nearby farmer would ask him to shoot a fox. But he would not say who the farmer was.  Miss Gedrych said police made a thorough search of the clearing and could find no evidence of anyone being shot. Barrett was not charged in relation to the alleged shooting.
James Hartson, defending, said Barrett, was a former gamekeeper and now a semi-retired farmer.   Mr Justice Spencer said he had given the matter "anxious consideration". He added that Parliament had laid down a five year minimum sentence for such offences for a good reason and Barrett could avoid it only if there were exceptional circumstances. He ruled that because of his age and his poor health he could reduce the sentence to three and a half years, but no lower.    He said Barrett admitted he had left the gun and the ammunition in his vehicle overnight and had run the risk of the weapon falling into the wrong hands.  Barrett admitted possessing a rifle with a shortened barrel, illegal ammunition and an overpowered air rifle.

HSA Press Release    Relief of protestors as hunt supporter jailed on firearms offences      A local hunt protest group has reacted with relief to the jailing of a prominent supporter of the South Pembrokeshire Hunt..... The incident happened when two members of West Wales Anti Bloodsports were observing the early morning activities of the South Pembrokeshire Hunt from aWestWalesmonitorshotatS.PembrokeshireFHmeet.jpg footpath.   After encountering a gang of hunt supporters, a protestor [right] was shot in the head with some kind of projectile, possibly an airgun pellet.   Six individuals were arrested and their vehicles searched, and a sawn-off rifle and ammunition was discovered in Barrett’s possession.  He claimed in court that it was for shooting foxes.....
The shooting occurred at a pre-season ‘cubbing’ meet, at Campshill Farm near Yerbeston. It resulted in the protestor being taken to hospital with a profusely bleeding head wound.   Shortly beforehand, Barrett had subjected the couple to highly offensive and apparently racist abuse, and a South Pembrokeshire Hunt terrierman had challenged them to a fight.
"We had a strong suspicion that a fox had been illegally dug out, and I was about to phone the police when I heard a metallic pinging noise. Suddenly, there was an intense sharp pain in my forehead, and blood pouring down my face. I knew that I had been shot with something, and a feeling of terror came over me" said the protestor. "I was taken to hospital in an emergency ambulance, and found to have a circular head wound that had penetrated right through the skin. I would have lost an eye if the missile had hit me lower in the face".
A spokesman for West Wales Anti Bloodsports said that Barrett had previously been openly threatening towards them, and his behaviour reported to the police. "We are immensely relieved that this violent individual has been jailed. We are however disappointed that the South Pembrokeshire Hunt Master was not apparently inclined to reign in such loose cannons. Even after being arrested, Barrett continued to attend hunt meets, and was able to continue his pattern of intimidation.  On one such occasion, he appeared to be working for the hunt, and was cracking a long whip in a frightening manner.  We have had our car tyres slashed on three occasions when out watching the South Pembrokeshire Hunt, and had horses backed into us on dozens of occasions. The incident also raises the question of why Barrett thought a local farmer might ask him to shoot a fox on the same day the South Pembrokeshire Hunt were out. We are now more determined than ever to continue our wildlife protection work, as it is clear that barbaric animal cruelty, despite being illegal, is still rife in our countryside".
POWAPerson adds;-    Footage of the incident is on YouTube. Whilst the violent and bigoted behaviour of many hunt supporters is well known it still comes as a shock to hear and see it so graphically illustrated.  Footage of Barrett foul-mouthedly abusing and threatening female hunt monitors is also online.   The monitors also make the following claims about the South Pembrokeshire:-    "West Wales Anti Bloodsports has filmed foxes being pursued by packs of hounds on several occasions. The group has recorded one instance in which a fox was shot and disembowelled. On another occasion, a fox was filmed escaping from a hedge, where Pembrokeshire terriermen with nets and a dog were trying to trap it. In addition, at least two active badger setts were dug out, one on land belonging to the Master of the South Pembrokeshire Hunt. These acts echo wildlife crimes for which hunt officials in England have been convicted. The group has published video clips of what it witnessed on the Internet."


Contact details  - 
Protect Our Wild Animals Limited is a Private Limited Company, registered in England & Wales, number 6687073, registered address 13 Albert Place, Loughborough LE11 2DN
Disclaimer: Neither POWA nor the Webmaster necessarily endorse all the views expressed on this site or the views expressed in links/downloads on this site. Responsibility cannot be accepted by POWA or the webmaster for statements made by contributors for publication on this site or on those sites/downloads to which links are given